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ZOTAC NVIDIA 790i Ultra SLI Motherboard

By: Cameron Johnson | Socket AM3/AM3+ in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 25, 2008 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ZOTAC

The Board



It's finally time to start on the board itself. ZOTAC has built its board around the NVIDIA reference design for the 790i. It uses the same 6-layer 24x30cm ATX PCB with all of the connectors in the same place as the reference design recommends. However, the cooling system for the chipset is slightly altered. The 24-pin power connector along with the IDE connector and four of the six SATA ports that are run off the MCP are located behind the four DDR3 memory slots. The 4/8 pin connector gets placed between the rear I/O ports and the heatpipe assembly. The last two SATA ports run by the MCP along with the FDD port are located on the mid-point of the right hand edge of the board.



ZOTAC has gone and used the reference design power regulation system that NVIDIA recommends; that being six phases. ZOTAC hasn't jumped on any power saving bandwagon yet, so this board is not an environmentally friendly board apart from its RoHS compliance. The heatpipe assembly runs from the MCP to the SPP and around the CPU to cool the CPU voltage Mosfets along with the memory Mosfets. If you plan to overclock, you need to install the included fan to the Northbridge area to keep it cool when running high clock speeds.



At the back of the board we have the I/O ports. ZOTAC hasn't used the reference design for its port configuration; on the back we have a pretty standard array of ports, no serial or parallel ports make their way here. One of the biggest features here is the inclusion of the single eSATA port running off a JMicron SATA controller.



Now we are down to the expansion slots. First off we have our graphics slots; thanks to the use of the 790i SLI Ultra chipset, we have three PCI Express x16 slots. The top most green slots are run off the 790i SPP and are PCI Express 2.0 compliant. The bottom PCI Express x16 slot is run off the MCP and is only 1.1 compliant. Two PCI Express x1 slots, one above and one below the first PCI Express x16 slot on the board make up the final PCI Express expansion. Lastly, there are two PCI legacy slots.


The extra accessories on the board come in the form of a single JMicron PCI Express SATA controller which controls the eSATA port along with the red SATA port near the heatpipe assembly. For FireWire support, a single Texas Instruments PCI based FireWire chip supporting two ports is resident.


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