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XFX 680i LT SLI - Can a graphics card builder make a good motherboard? - Motherboard

Reference designs - do boards need to be tweaked by a specialist motherboard maker to give top performance and features?

| NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: May 13, 2007 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.0%      Manufacturer: XFX

Motherboard

 

 

XFX's 680i LT SLI board is based directly around Nvidia's reference design earning it the Designed by Nvidia approval stickers. The board is a full 30x24cm ATX layout on a green PCB. Reference designs in the past have not been the cleanest layouts available; however, Nvidia really put its time into this design. The 24-pin power, IDE and FDD ports are all located behind the four memory slots on the right-hand side of the board. The 8-pin power connector gets placed just behind the PS/2 ports on the board away from the CPU. XFX has not changed anything on the reference design, so it gets big points for keeping a clean layout for its first board.

 

 

Because XFX has gone full reference specs, you get the recommended six phase voltage regulation system that is cooled by passive heatsinks. The SPP and MCP both have active heatsink and fan coolers to keep them running at top efficiency, especially if you plan to overclock.

 

 

Even the rear I/O ports are set up as in the reference design layout from Nvidia; there are no more and no less ports than specified. We would like to have seen a bit more initiative from XFX to add a Silicon Image 3132 SATA controller and have these ports routed to a couple of eSATA ports, but it has decided reference all the way.

 

 

Being based on the nForce 680i LT SLI chipset, you get the same benefits of full speed SLI that the more expensive nForce 680i SLI boasts, you simply do not get the third PCI Express x16 slot for physics. Nvidia has taken this feature out of the MCP along with one of the two Gigabit LAN controllers. Both PCI Express x16 slots run at full x16 speeds all the time, so you can run Quad SLI on this board. You can see that the PCB used is the same one as the 680i SLI boards, as there are solder points for the extra PCI Express x16 slot on the board; it is just missing. Rounding up the last of the expansion slots are two PCI Express x1 and two PCI legacy slots. The LAN subsystem is provided by the MCP's integrated Gigabit LAN controller, the only additional feature is a Texas Instruments PCI based Firewire chip.

Pine Technology XFX MB-N680-ISH nForce 680i SLI Motherboard

 

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