Packaging and Features
Our first testing motherboard for the 680i came to us from eVGA. They have followed nVidia's reference guidelines to the letter to produce their board and for good reason - the first batch of boards are all made by nVidia and later more boards will arrive from the usual suspects such as ABIT, ASUS, Gigabyte, DFI, MSI and so on.
eVGA places their board in a nice black and dark green box with bright green highlights - this is not surprising, as it is the same colour scheme nVidia uses for its products and website. The front doesn't reveal much info on the board itself.
Going to the back of the box you get a bit more of an idea of what's on offer. A picture of the board as well as some info on the features and specs are provided. Not as good as some box outs we have seen, but it's enough to make your mind up if this is what you're after or not.
For your documents, you get a single user manual that explains the functions and setup process for the board and the Windows based software. A single CD is provided with the drivers for XP and XP64 if you plan to go the 64bit route. The included floppy contains the F6 boot drivers for XP and XP64 since they aren't built into the Windows boot load setup.
When it comes to the add-on cables, eVGA provides just what the doctor ordered. There is a single Firewire port bracket, 4 USB 2.0 port bracket and a Serial Port bracket.
Even nVidia is hopping on the water cooling bandwagon - no, I don't mean the board is water cooled; it's ready for water cooling setup. nVidia knows its chipset runs a little warm when passively cooled, that's why it relies on the exhausted CPU fan air to keep the Northbridge running nice and cool. When you go to a water cooling setup you remove the fan from the CPU, which eliminates the cooling affect for the chipset. Both nVidia and eVGA recommend the use of an included fan if you intend to go water cooling to keep the Northbridge at workable temperatures.
Since SLI is a must, the board comes with a large SLI bridge cable, you will see why it's so long very shortly.