Now it is on to the board itself, and DFI really has done a fantastic job. The board is designed around a full ATX layout of 30 x 24cm so it is quite large and 6 layers thick, as stated by Nvidia in its 680i LT SLI documentation.
DFI has placed its 24-pin power connector and FDD port behind the four memory slots. The 4/8-pin CPU power connector is located just behind the PS/2 ports on the left hand side of the board, well away from the CPU. Brilliant.
DFI has gone for a fully digital voltage regulation system over the traditional setups most companies tend to use, which is designed to increase stability under extreme conditions. There is a total of six phases of voltage regulation on the board to keep the CPU well supplied with power under load - DFI claims it is enough to provide a total of 200 Amps to the processor. The MOSFETs are located under the copper coloured heatsink.
DFI has not changed its rear I/O port layout since our last DFI board review. There are no serial or parallel ports, which are not going to really be missed these days, especially for a product that is designed purely for gamers and overclockers; however, it would be nice to see some eSATA ports included in future board revisions.
There are three PCI Express x16 slots onboard, which is uncharacteristic of a 680i LT board. The top two slots are x16 speed slots designed to let SLI run at full speed. If you want to use the PCI Express x16 slot at the bottom as well as the top two, you cannot have any other PCI Express cards on the board and need to set a jumper - this gives you x8 speed on the final slot. For the rest of the slots there is a single PCI Express x4 slot and a three PCI slots for legacy devices such as old sound cards.
DFI are taking cooling quite serious with the LANParty UT NF680I LT SLI-T2R. Attesting to the fact that this motherboard is designed for enthusiasts, you have got to install the northbridge cooler yourself but that is just some DYI fun. It is a passive solution without active cooling and it is probably the biggest we have seen from any motherboard to date. The southbridge tends to get quite warm and since DFI are passionate about overclocking, it has included active fan cooling on this chip to keep things as cool as possible.
Additionally, there is a Silicon Image 3132 PCI Express controller chip to add two extra SATA ports and a VIA Firewire chip that runs off the PCI bus.
If you have not noticed already, DFI has put a lot of effort into this 680i LT motherboard. DFI does not have a full fledged 680i SLI motherboard in its portfolio and that is probably because it thinks the Nvidia chipset pricing for this product is too high, like most. DFI have cleared tried to make its 680i LT just as impressive as the more expensive 680i SLI solutions and from what we have seen so far, it has done a pretty good job at doing just that.
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