XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review :: XFX nForce 630i and GeForce 7150 Layout

02-29-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Ben Sun

The first thing to notice on this board is that it is a mATX board, designed to fit into a small case. As the board has 18 PCI Express lanes available to it, theres not much sense in putting a lot of expansion on the board. A single x16 PCI Express 1.0a slot is available for a discrete graphics card like the 8800GT or ATI 3870X2 if you want it. Rounding out the expansion on the board is a single PCI Express x1 slot and two PCI slots, giving room for expansion if you need it.


XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review Board

Board

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review Expansion slots

Expansion slots

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review LGA-775 Socket

LGA-775 Socket

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review PCI Express x1

PCI Express x1


The CPU Socket area of the board is extremely bare of obstructions with a row of five capacitors on the top of the board. Theres plenty of room for after-market cooling solutions on the Socket 775 area. A heatsink covers the nForce 630i/7150 chip to keep it cool while under operation. XFXs board sports two DIMM slots, allowing for up to 4GB of unbuffered non-ECC memory to be used in conjunction with this board. The GeForce 7150 can take up to 256MB of the memory for frame buffer purposes, equivalent to most value discrete video cards on the market. DDR2-800 memory is the fastest supported by this board. NVIDIA SLI boards support SLI Ready memory for higher clocked speeds, but this is meant for the HTPC market and the higher clocked memory isnt needed to be supported.


XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review SATA ports

SATA ports

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review External SATA

External SATA

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review IDE and FDD

IDE and FDD

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review Northbridge

Northbridge


XFX chose to include the maximum amount 4 SATA ports that the chipset supports. If you want more, you need to purchase a bracket to add more ports. They are located on the bottom left side of the board meaning that an external graphics card wont block them if one is installed on the board. Three USB headers are on the left side of the board, meaning that you can have up to 10 USB ports on the system with the four on the rear I/O.

One extremely nice touch on the board is the inclusion of a Power and a Reset button. Many boards dont have this feature, even the high-end boards, and its excellent for the newbie to get started with their new computer to try the board outside the case. XFX also includes a diagnostic LED to show error codes on bootup. The combination of the buttons and the LED means that if you have a problem youre likely going to be able to figure out what it is.


XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review Power/Reset button

Power/Reset button

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review Onboard LED

Onboard LED

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review 8-pin Power

8-pin Power

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review 24-pin Power

24-pin Power

XFX nForce 630i / GeForce 7150 Review Rear I/O

Rear I/O


The Micro ATX form factor also dictates where the 8-pin power connector is located. XFXs positioning is under the PS/2 sockets, meaning that it is a simple matter to route the cable from the PSU to the power connector. The 24-pin power connector is on the bottom right half of the board, right where it should be. Next to the 24-pin connector is an IDE connector and a FDD connector for legacy drive support.

The rear I/O includes the following ports: PS/2 Mouse Port, PS/2 Keyboard, HDMI, SPDIF In, VGA, External SATA, USB 2.0 Ports (4), 6 audio jacks, 2 RJ-45 jacks, Firewire port, and a DVI connector This is the first NVIDIA board Ive seen with a HDMI connector for the monitor but you can run DVI monitors with an adapter. External SATA ports on a mainstream motherboard may seem farfetched but with the vast majority of boards coming onto the market today support it. XFXs board has an integrated 8-channel audio solution from Realtek, the ALC888.This CODEC fully supports Intels High Definition Audio standard. Key features of the chipset include support for up to 10 DAC channels that simultaneously support 7.1 sound playback plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs. Adequate integrated sound is standard on motherboards today with only the true audiophile requiring an external sound card.