Almost every gaming enthusiast has been waiting for a decent
Motherboard chipset offering from NVIDIA supporting the latest performance king,
the Intel Core 2 Duo, dual x16 PCI-E lanes for Quad SLI support (Quintessential
for the High Def Gamers) and official SLI support. When news of the NF590 SLI
Intel Edition surfaced, many of them were psyched to hold out for the motherboards.
Some who could not wait had already gone for the Intel chipset motherboards,
hoping to replace them once the NF590 SLI boards were available. I cannot recall
the number of messages I got asking for ETAs of these boards. When early samples
of the NVIDIA Reference NF590 SLI motherboards were exposed with results, many
were very disappointed with them, not because the boards had bad performance
(in fact their performance were better), but because of the low FSB tolerance
of the C19 MCP onboard.
It was still ok for people with unlocked Extreme Processors,
but for most with multiplier-locked processors, the 350MHz FSB wall meant an
early stop in overclocking. Quite some went onto alternative chipsets while
a bunch were pining their last hopes on DFI’s offering of the same MCP. Hoping
for a miracle that would stop the 350FSB curse. When the results for DFI’s early
sample board was posted on the internet, almost all hope died. An apple tree
will never bear mango fruits. That was the reason for DFI canning their NF590
SLI Intel Edition project. Close to 3 months after the Intel Core 2 Duo launched,
there was no NF590 SLI Motherboards out there to support them.
The ASUS P532N SLI Premium entered the market rather quietly
a few weeks ago and that was the only option. A definite dilemma for enthusiasts
who crave for great overclocking headroom and official SLI support.
Originally slated for next year, the NVIDIA C55 MCP was pushed
forward a few months in order to secure the enthusiast market which NVIDIA had
a large percentage of in terms of Motherboard chipsets, but one they were losing
grip very quickly. And so we have the 600 series of motherboards from NVIDIA,
with the flagship 680i SLI chipset predestined to win back the enthusiasts.
Today, we take a look at EVGA’s NForce 680i SLI Motherboard,
which is as the words on the box depict, engineered for the enthusiast.