There are numerous P35 boards available, so what does a company have to do to have an edge? Well, as far as ASUS is concerned, they should produce feature-packed boards that also come with many extras, including a game and 3D Mark 06. Oh… not to mention a water-cooled northbridge!
Bling Extreme came and we are impressed. First and foremost, both boards are feature-packed. They include everything you need and a lot of things you don’t, such as the LCD Poster and 3D Mark 06, alongside STALKER. The BIOS is also packed to the brim with overclocking-related options, but still doesn’t come close to some of DFI’s boards. This is not a huge hit though, as it’s unlikely most will even use all of the overclocking potential seen here, including myself. I value time over finding a route to 5 extra MHz.
Pricing is currently not known, and we were unable to receive a response from ASUS prior to publishing. Given the prices of current ASUS motherboards though, I believe that the Blitz Formula DDR2 board will retail for around the ~$300 mark while the DDR3 Extreme will sit closer to $330 – $350.
Is the (assumed) price justified? If you enjoy unpacking a packed motherboard, then yes it certainly could be. The fact is, this is no barebones setup. The fact that it includes so many extras and also offers water-cooling abilities is why there will be a premium for the board. If the retail prices turn out to be less, then all the better.
Regarding the audio card that is included, I can’t properly comment on it as I didn’t give it proper testing. On my rather modest Edifier S2.1D set the sound was as good as other on-board cards I’ve used, in both music and gaming. Is the external card really needed? Jumping to conclusions, I would say it’s a nice addition. If it requires a much larger PCB, I assume it would deliver better quality than other motherboards. It’s a solid card, but probably wouldn’t replace your X-Fi.
As far as overclocking goes, I didn’t hit as high of a FSB as I had hoped, but don’t find a reason to be depressed over 480FSB. What is odd however, is that in the seven or eight motherboards I’ve used since ASUS’ own P5N-E, none have been able to hit the 495FSB that it had been capable of. The irony is the fact that the P5N-E costs less than $150, but it was also a less-than-ideal memory overclocker.
Speaking of memory, this is another area where the Blitz really, really impressed me. Even their P5K boards were unable to come close to clocking memory as high as the eVGA nForce 680i has been able to, but the Blitz was able to match up perfectly. So though the Blitz boards didn’t prove to be the -best- overclocking boards on the market, they don’t disappoint.
What was interesting was the fact that 480FSB was stable with 1.55v on the Northbridge. The max voltage there is 2.03v, but none of that helped with a better overclock. We are interested in knowing if others have achieved higher overclocks than us, so if you have the board or know someone who does, please jump into our review thread and let us know.
When all said and done, I am going to award both boards an eight out of ten along with our editor’s choice award. Both boards are great overclockers, feature a packed bundle and also 8x 8x CrossFire and of course it’s one of the few boards to feature water-cooling built-in. These are great boards overall and I plan to continue using them in our performance-related reviews until something better comes along.
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