EVGA releases Z68 FTW, Z68 SLI and Z68 SLI Micro
EVGA has released three new motherboards based on the Intel Z68 Express chipset, namely the Z68 FTW, Z68 SLI and Z68 SLI Micro. The flagship Z68 FTW features processor socket pins with higher gold content, a 12-phase power design, NVIDIA NF200, voltage read points, multiple BIOS backup and more.
Common to all of EVGA's Z68 boards is the red and black color scheme, support for Intel's Socket LGA 1155 processors, SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, voltage read points and even dual cooler mounting holes to fit both today's LGA 1155 / 1156 heat sinks and the older LGA 775 ones.
To provide extremely clean power to the processor, the EVGA Z68 FTW flagship features a processor socket with 300% more gold content, a 12-phase voltage regulation module (VRM) and even a low-ESR, high current capacity Prodalizer film capacitor. There are two upright 8-pin ATX12V connectors for CPU power and an angled ATX 24-pin connector, possibly done so for the sake of better cable management.
While all three Z68 boards are capable of NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX, NVIDIA's NF200 PCI Express switch chip on the Z68 FTW enables support for 3-way NVIDIA SLI plus PhysX. The internal SATA 6Gbps (two) and SATA 3Gbps (four) storage ports are all routed to the Intel Z68 Express chipset, while the two eSATA ports at the rear are handled by Marvell's 88SE6121. The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are also handled by another Marvell controller, the 88E8057. There is no lack of connectivity options on this board, with a total of ten USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports and Firewire. The VRM and chipset heatsinks are huge, which should provide more than adequate cooling.
The slightly watered-down EVGA Z68 SLI features an 8-phase VRM and three PCI Express x16 slots. The board drops the NF200 chip, thus suporting only 2-way SLI plus PhysX. There are five internal SATA ports (two SATA 6Gbps and three SATA 3Gbps) and the last SATA 3Gbps going to the rear panel as eSATA. Two less USB 3.0 ports on the Z68 SLI as well.
Being smaller doesn't mean cost-cutting; the microATX form factor EVGA Z68 SLI Micro retains most of the features found on its older SLI sibling, such as dual BIOS support, USB 3.0 and Firewire.
The EVGA Z68 FTW retails for US$264.99. Adding the EVGauge and ECP V4 overclocking tools to the FTW will set you back another US$35. The EVGA Z68 SLI retails for US$209.99, and the Z68 SLI Micro for US$159.99.