EVGA nForce 750i SLI FTW For The Win review -
4 - Overclocking & Tweaking
Overclocking & Tweaking
I've mentioned a couple of times already that the FTW edition mainboard is built for very decent overclocking. The BIOS is highly flexible for this and allows some very predominant tweaking when it comes to multipliers, voltages and settings.
To gain maximum performance and stability I've inserted some nice fast OCZ Reaper memory to show that the mainboard indeed can take faster than 800 Mhz memory perfectly fine.
And granted, there's nothing more easy than overclocking with this mainboard. So I figured, the cheapest quad-core Intel processor right now is the Q6600 at 185 USD, an amazing price and that is our sweet spot. Especially if you consider that they are very overclockable.
So we inserted a Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor on this mainboard. Now; I could have used our 1400 USD Core 2 Extreme QX9770 for this, but overclocking an Intel Engineering Sample processor .. wouldn't be entirely fair. What we use is a retail version Q6600 processor paid for by my own money.
Cooling wise, we're trying to make a point here. While not spending heaps of money you can lift this platform to the very high end. So we used a 35 USD OCZ Vendetta cooler which I really like. Cheap, not noisy and really decent performance.
In the BIOS you want to disable functions like CE1 and SpeedStep, make sure your memory is set asynchronous from the FSB yet at it's maximum frequency with optimal timings (and give it a little extra voltage, that's always good, usually 2.1v - 2.2v for DDR2 is a sweet-spot.
Now usually on a regular mainboard you'd end up at roughly 3 GHz to 3.2 GHz on a Core 2 Quad Q6600 quad-core right ?
Here's what I did, remember .. first try .. I put the FSB to 1600 MHz, the multiplier to 9 and furthermore did noting, no voltage increase noting. Everything was set to automatic in the BIOS except the variables mentioned above. Et voila .. a stable 3600 MHz on all four cores. We boot into windows and already have a perfectly nice overclock.
With the OCZ Vendetta cooler temps where great, at 40 C idle up to 60 degrees C 100% utilized. Now testing with Prime95 was not 100% stable. after a few minutes we got an error. We now increase the voltage towards 1.4v in the BIOS, reboot .. and got a 100% stable error-free rig.
Overclocking is really easy with this mainboard. Imagine what you can do with, for example, some quality water-cooling. I took some screenshots of this with a Prime Stress test .
You can click the image to enlarge the screenshot and check temps, overclock and Prime95. We measured and overclocked at a 20 Degrees C ambient room temperature.
eVGA decided to make a new cheaper mainboard opposed to 780/790, designed it l33t, sexy yet offer two or maybe three features less than these sub 300 USD counterparts. And they named their new baby the eVGA nForce 750 FTW. Where FTW literally means "For The Win". Now if you send a product with "FTW" in the actual name then as a company you need to have some pretty big balls, as any reviewer will see if that product lives up-to the reputation. You know what, you need balls as big as an NVIDIA colored bull.
NVIDIA eVGA nFORCE 680i LT SLI
Let me put it simple .. The 68i SLI LT mainboard is a regular 680i SLI mainboard in all it's ways yet to cut costs there have been several functions stripped. For example .. you'll have to miss out on the 3rd "graphics" PCI-Express slot (the 8x one), you'll only have one GBit/s Ethernet connector, you lost the passively cooled SSP and MCP, it's now done with active fans, you loose LinkBoost and some tweaking options in the BIOS. Other stuff you'll miss are the black PCB, diagnostic LEDs, reset and power off/on micro switches in the mainboard PCB and some other small stuff. We'll explain ... click me !
eVGA nForce 680i SLI mainboard review
We started using this mainboard pretty much the minute we received it which was early November and ever since it has become the #1 mainboard for testing graphics cards. Intense stability, hefty tweaking features and massive performance. These are the three things I immediately think about when we talk about the 680i mainboards.