NVIDIA eVGA nFORCE 680i LT SLI -
So there you have it. Let there be no doubt, if you buy it you receive a really good 680i LT mainboard that is topped off with fantastic performance; performance pretty much equal to the normal 680i SLI mainboard. Then there is that overclock we achieved in merely a minute, it was phenomenal. We boosted another 1.2 GHz out of a 300 USD processor; 100% stable so no complaints there either. You'll get to have the full dual x16 PCI-Express bandwidth for some serious SLI gaming experience and you'll receive an okay feature set for sure.
The mainboard is "Designed by NVIDIA" ; and Hilbert dude .. what does that mean ? It's as simple as it sounds and sums up that the motherboard was developed and designed by nForce and GeForce engineers. And they make sure your gaming experience and thus graphics cards perform optimally on a mainboard like this. Also on the box you'll notice that "Designed by NVIDIA" logo which sums up to good support on advanced features in the NV BIOS and enthusiast like nTune and MediaShield. So you need to understand that NVIDIA designs the boards itself, BIOS, and software and thus NVIDIA can provide an additional level of support for it's partners and customers; which is nice.
Is there something to dislike then? Well in the introduction I already made a reference to LT which is a proverb for Light; the mainboard is like a diet coke? You know that feeling when you take a zip from a diet Coke it just doesn't taste the same? It's exactly like that with the LT. For people that want to stay slim and healthy and thus forfeit on what that taste is really about.
A couple of things... I still say that 200 USD is a lot of money for a mainboard and NVIDIA really did strip away many features didn't they? I can be fine with the green PCB although the cool factor dropped instantly. But when I looked at it, then noticed the lack of diagnostic LEDs and the third x8 PCI-Express slot. Hell even the BIOS features and lack of linkboost are stripped, I started loosing a bit of interest. But the one thing they should not have done is to strip away the second Gbit Ethernet NIC. This is a 200 USD mainboard and for that kind of money in this price range I really do expect such features which I consider to be standard. Stripping away the passive cooling is something I can understand as well as it's expensive... but I have tested two LT mainboards and on both of them the noise coming from the MCP fan is wahaaay too loud. That's just not cool at 200 bucks and most certainly not something you'd expect. I do hope NVIDIA will check out that MCP fan and replace it with a more silent model. So these are very basic elementary things that in my opinion should have been addressed. Also linkboost was removed... why ?
Let me tell you why .. I do understand the reasoning from NVIDIA just fine, if you include too much features... people will not even bother to buy the regular 680i mainboard. But right now the 680i LT mainboard is nothing more than a good mainboard with dual x16 slots for high-end SLI. And that's a bit steep at 200 USD. I'd drop in a few tenners and go for the full 680i mainboard as the difference feature wise is quite large. So personally I feel that NVIDIA stripped away a little too much. Let's leave it at that.
Perhaps I'm being too critical as well... it's my job. So I also can't deny that you'll receive 100% the same performance as that full 680i SLI mainboard, you do get a full RAID 0,1,5 solution for 6 SATA drives, the Ethernet NIC, dual x16 SLI, very likely a great overclock, reasonably good integrated multi-channel sound and pretty much the majority of features that the 680 chipset can offer you.
Let's hope that the price comes down to let's say 160 to 175 USD quickly, then it's very likely one of the best bang for bucks mainboard money can buy, if you can cope with the stripped out features that is.
What nearly traumatized me in a very positive way was the easy yet massive overclock we did on the Core 2 Duo E6600 processor, and that certainly did make up for a lot. This mainboard is dual and quad-core ready processor ready and is as well ready for the upcoming 1333 MHz FSB processors. This is a high performance, quite overclockable mainboard for high-end gamers that don't have severe tweaking aspirations. If it suits your budget... it's highly recommended; but if you can chip in a few more bucks... then the normal 680i SLI would be my weapon of choice.
No-matter what your choice will be, your overall PC and gaming experience will will be awesome and once again it shows that NVIDIA knows how to build hardware, that's something you can't deny for sure.
We spotted the product today for $159.99 after a mail-in rebate and it's on-stock click on the price to visit the store.
Now then... daddy just needs two 8800 Ultra's and this little game called Crysis.
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 !
NVIDIA Editor's Day 2003
The NVIDIA Editor's Day 2003 in sunny downtown San Francsico, brought together editors/journalists, from around the world, game developers, and NVIDIA engineers to talk about the GeForce FX technologies, drivers, and developer relations.