EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review :: EVGA 680i SLI Layout

11-14-2006 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Spec Sheet
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Part Number122-CK-NF68-AR
ManufacturerEVGA
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetNvidia nForce 680i SLI
North Bridge
SocketLGA775 Socket
Processor TypesQuad Core, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Pentium 4, Pentium D
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1066/800/533MHz
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory8GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeNvidia MCP55
Audio8-channel
IDE133/100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA3.0 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10
LAN10/100/1000 x2
FirewireIEEE 1394a
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
BIOSAWARD
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review 8-pin power

8-pin power

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review 24-pin power

24-pin power

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Ziff Socket

Ziff Socket

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review CPU Area

CPU Area


The 8-pin EPS power connector is on the very top right-hand corner of the board, making for easy and painless routing of the cable from the PSU. Many boards have this connector located behind the CPU, forcing the cable over or around the CPU cooler. The 24-pin power connector is in the first position below the memory slots. This is the optimal placement on the board as no IDE cables will get in the way. The nForce 680i chipset supports every available LGA-775 CPU including the latest Quad Core QX6700 CPU, which booted correctly on the first try for us here in the lab.

Memory slot placement on a board has been a major issue for me as a reviewer as its placement is very important. How many boards in the recent past have you seen with the memory slot blocking the removal of a long video card? Too many in my book, that's for sure. With the launch of the 8800GTX this is a big concern, as the card is now long enough to block all four memory slots on a motherboard on a board where they can interfere. Some AMD chipsets have had the memory slots close enough to the CPU area that the heat spreaders on the memory touch the CPU cooling. The EVGA board has excellent spacing between the video card slot and the memory and the CPU. No single device blocks the other. The 6-layer design of the 680i chipset also supports 1200MHz memory.


EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Memory Slots

Memory Slots

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Floppy/SATA

Floppy/SATA

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review PATA/SATA

PATA/SATA

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review On/Off Switches

On/Off Switches


For the first time NVIDIA has included a 3rd PCIe graphics expansion slot with their new boards and EVGA's board follows this trend. SLI requires two PCI express x16 slots. However, one of the big pushes for NVIDIA is the acceleration of physics with the 8800 series. It is likely you will be able to install two 8800GTX cards and a third card will be used strictly for physics acceleration. Or you can install three cards and run 6 displays in non SLI mode. This is an option gamers will seldom, If ever use and is for workstation applications.

NVIDIA really put a lot of work and thought into the placement of the PCI express x16 slots. There is plenty of space between the PCI express x16 slot 1 and the 2nd black PCI express slot. This allows for plenty of airflow between two graphics cards and makes for better heat dissipation. This is especially important with the new 8800GTX cards, as the cards are power hungry and require a lot of cooling. SLI requires the use of a new connector, as the two PCI express x16 black slots are too far apart for the normal one. Two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI v2.2 slots make up the bulk of the expansion slots.


EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review System Slots

System Slots

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Angle View

Angle View

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review VGA Locks

VGA Locks

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review

Drive support on the EVGA 680i-SLI board is extensive and something you would expect from a new motherboard these days. Six sideways facing SATA ports are on the bottom of the board. NVIDIA put a lot of thought into this placement, as many earlier motherboards would have SATA ports blocked by long video cards making them a pain to access. This can especially be a problem for NVIDIA 8800GTX cards which are 23cm long. EVGA also provides a singular PATA port and a FDC port. The board has its own build-in on and reset switches as well that make working with the board during overclocking and testing a much easier experience.


EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Audio I/O

Audio I/O

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Mixer

Mixer

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Sound Effects

Sound Effects

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Microphone

Microphone

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Audio Demo

Audio Demo


Onboard sound on the EVGA 680i-SLI is provided by a Realtek ALC882 CODEC. Realtek is popular among motherboard manufacturers, for making high-quality onboard sound at a low cost inclusion. The onboard sound fully supports the HDA (High Definition Audio) standard and EAX 2.0 (Note, that due to Creative Lab's licensing agreements only 2.0 is supported by non-CL sound cards). HDA support brings native 7.1 surround sound support to the motherboard, and support for multiple audio streams at the same time. Realtek is by no means my favorite sound solution, but most users will most likely be satisfied with its sound reproduction.

EVGA really went all out on the back panel IO on the board. There are no less than 6 USB 2.0 ports on the back panel, meaning that you are unlikely to run out of USB ports ever. If you need more, EVGA includes a 4 port USB bracket as well for the extreme USB device user. Also on the board are a Firewire port, S/PDIF Out, PS/2 Mouse, Keyboard ports, and 2 RJ-45 jacks for the onboard LAN ports. The board offers all the latest and greatest options for the desktop PC environment and has a very nice overall layout as well as exceptional good looks. NVIDIA has added a fine compliment to their motherboard lineup from what we see on paper and in actually handling the board. Let's move on and talk a little bit about the special features of the 680i, so far so good though.


EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Chipset Heatsink

Chipset Heatsink

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review HeatPipe

HeatPipe

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Angle I/O

Angle I/O

EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard Review Rear I/O

Rear I/O