NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI review - XFX

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nForce 780i SLI review (XFX)

nVIDIA nForce 780i SLI mainboard review
Pure unadulterated fun ... with an XFX mainboard
Price: 285 USD / 198 EUR
Info:  XFX technology

I was roughly a year ago when these green colored muffins from the liberal California region released a mainboard targeted for the enthusiast market under the label nForce 600, and obviously specifically I'm talking about nForce 680i SLI. Quite frankly, what NVIDIA does in that segment of the market to date has been a great success. Example; the minute I returned with the 680i mainboard we started using it, and for a complete year this mainboard became our primary platform to test enthusiast products like graphics cards, memory and processors on. To date pretty much all our graphics card reviews and all our Core 2 Duo/Quad reviews have been done on that platform, again... on a year old mainboard. That's how good nForce 680i really is.

What's the magic then you ask ? Well, four key factors; Scalability, overclocking, aesthetics and the richest feature set money can buy you. Granted, it's a really expensive mainboard series, but 98% of the people that bought one didn't regret it even for one second.

Now despite the fact that we could easily use the mainboard for another year on high-end tests, a couple of things did change. The industry has been moving forward and we now see slow adoption of PCIe 2.0, new Intel Penryn (45nm) Core 2 processors are close to it's release and then of course the launch of NVIDIA's 3-way SLI last week which for 780i meant adoption of (3x) 16x PCIe slots.

Touching the subject of Intel's new Penryn processors. The nForce 780i SLI mainboard as tested opposed to 680i is fully compatible with the upcoming Intel 45nm Duo & Quad core processors, but only the 1333 MHz processors are actually fully supported. I want to make this very clear.


TBA Penryn Family processors

Processor Cores ClockFreq. L2-cache FSB Multipl. TDP Launch Price/1000
Core 2 Duo E8190 2 2,67 GHz 6 MB 1333 MHz 8x 65 W Jan. 2008 $ 163
Core 2 Duo E8200 2 2,67 GHz 6 MB 1333 MHz 8x 65 W Jan. 2008 $ 163
Core 2 Duo E8300 2 2,83 GHz 6 MB 1333 MHz 8,5x 65 W Jan. 2008 TBA
Core 2 Duo E8400 2 3,00 GHz 6 MB 1333 MHz 9x 65 W Jan. 2008 $ 183
Core 2 Duo E8500 2 3,17 GHz 6 MB 1333 MHz 9,5x 65 W Jan. 2008 $ 266
Core 2 Quad Q9300 4 2,50 GHz 6 MB 1333 MHz 7,5x 95 W Jan. 2008 $ 266
Core 2 Quad Q9450 4 2,67 GHz 12 MB 1333 MHz 8x 95 W Jan. 2008 $ 316
Core 2 Quad Q9550 4 2,83 GHz 12 MB 1333 MHz 8,5x 95 W Jan. 2008 $ 530
Core 2 Extreme QX9650 4 3,00 GHz 12 MB 1333 MHz 9x 130 W 12-11-2007 $ 999
Core 2 Extreme QX9770 4 3,20 GHz 12 MB 1600 MHz 8x 136 W Q1 2008 $ 1399
table_bl.gif blank.gif table_br.gif

Now why am I mentioning this so clearly ? Because the one processor in that table, the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 is not supported officially because of it's 1600 MHz FSB. nForce 700 carries full official support for 1333 MHz FSB based processors only, keep that in mind. And Murphy's Law always applies to us for some dark demonic reason... guess what we initially had arranged for this review ? More on that later though.

So NVIDIA has now upgraded and enhanced it's 680i chipset and is launching it's new series 700 based nForce platform. We'll peek at the enthusiast product today, the nForce 780 SLI for Intel processor, a mainboard interestingly enough still with DDR2 memory support. Today we'll bring you the an overview of the nForce 780i mainboard as brought to us by XFX. We'll slap it with the latest high-end gear around the proverbal ears and look very deep to see where performance is at.

The 780i mainboard is the nForce 680i replacement model, that means at standard "SLI Memory" compatibility, "FirstPacket technology", TCP/IP acceleration yet also ESA, PCIe 2.0 and also the option for connecting SATA drives in RAID configurations. But it surely doesn't end there though, hell no ... this is NVIDIA, you name it ... you got it.

In this review we'll have an overview of the technology and obviously the cool and hip features as I just mentioned above. Let's start up the actual review, next page please.

But first, I want to hear you say... "ooh".

nForce 780i SLI review (XFX)

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