We took a look at the Blitz Formula and Extreme boards from ASUS just over two months ago, and now we have the X38 version of those boards on the bench today. In addition to featuring a Northbridge waterblock, it also has “extreme” overclocking ability and a great bundle.
To pit these boards against some popular games, we chose to use Half-Life 2: Episode Two, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Need for Speed: Carbon. Each game offers its own flare to our benchmarking reviews for different reasons. HL2 is great simply because it’s one of the most popular games of all time, while STALKER has a wide open world to render and AI to churn. NFS: Carbon is included because racing games really enjoy powerful systems to push high FPS when you are driving at 200MPH.
As a reminder, we are running a 3.0GHz Intel QX6850 along with an ASUS 8800GTX, which we choose because of its power and ability to rid out the GPU as being a bottleneck. All of the games were run on 1280×1024 using default settings, in addition to 2560×1600 (1600×1200 for NFS) with maxed out settings and reasonable AA. Results were tabulated with the help of FRAPS 2.9.2. Each play through lasted between three and five minutes, depending on the level chosen.
For Half-Life 2: Episode Two, I will be using a saved game that takes place near the end of the game, the Silo mission. Each playthrough lasts about five minutes and varies very slightly. This is a great mission to use because it has a ton of action, lots of AI and you get to knock Striders down!
In S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I chose a run-through with the thumb drive mission, which occurs near the beginning of the game. Through it, there are many people who die and you get to leave with a thumb drive. Does it get much better?
In our NFS: Carbon test, we played through the first normal race when choosing one through the Quick Race mode. Two choices of car are given, an upcoming Chevrolet Camaro and a Koenigsegg CCX. I think it’s obvious which one I chose.
We’ll wrap the review up with overclocking and our final thoughts on the next page.