EVGA NVIDIA 790i SLI Ultra / 9800GX2 1GB Review :: EVGA 790i SLI Ultra Features

03-19-2008 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock
  • DDR3 JEDEC Memory supported
  • Tri-SLI
  • 1600MHz FSB CPUs supported
  • PCI Express 2.0
  • Enthusiast System Architecture
  • Enthusiast BIOS
  • Adjust frequencies and voltages with ultra fine control
  • NVIDIA Control Panel
  • Six SATA Drive Support with NVIDIA MediaShield storage technology
  • Allows quick setup of data back up and support for RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 configurations
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet connections
  • NVIDIA FirstPacket technology
  • NVIDIA DualNet technology
  • Two native Ethernet controllers with teaming and TCP/IP acceleration technologies for incredible network performance and lower CPU utilization

Intel has launched the X48 chipset recently to add support for the new Yorkfield 1600MHz CPUs to their chipset lineup. The nForce 790i SLI chipset is NVIDIA’s first motherboard chipset to officially support the new CPUs. Note, however, that the nForce 780i SLI chipset has successfully operated with the QX9770 CPU we have in the performance labs. The Yorkfield CPUs are the fastest Core 2 Quad CPUs on the market, and the new FSB will offer higher performance when paired with simultaneous memory clock (i.e. memory 1600MHz+FSB 1600MHz).

DDR3 memory has replaced DDR2 memory on some Intel motherboards based upon X38 and X48 chipsets. DDR3 memory has a power consumption of 17% less than DDR2 due to the 1.5V supply voltage that it uses and it has a higher memory bandwidth due to the 8-bit prefetch buffer which is higher than DDR2’s 4-bit prefetch buffer or DDR’s 2-bit prefetch buffer. DDR3 memory should have higher bandwith performance and enhanced low power features. The disadvantages of DDR3 are the higher CAS Latency and the costs associated with the new memory technology.

3DFX introduced SLI in 1998 with the Voodoo 2 SLI setup. After 3DFX went bankrupt in 2000, NVIDIA bought their employees and assets and introduced their version of SLI (Scalable Link Interface) in 2004. The concept behind SLI is to use two or more graphics cards to share the graphics workload in a game or application that supports it. The first implementation of NVIDIA SLI required a “Flip” card to enable/disable it. This liability was removed in later SLI chipsets.

The nForce 790i SLI chipset is capable of running Tri-SLI or Quad-SLI with the right video cards. Today’s launch of the 9800GX2 means that up to 2 9800GX2s can be SLIed to provide up to 4x the performance of a single 8800GT, as the two cards will have four GPUs on them. You can also use up to three 8800 Ultra or 8800GTX cards in Triple SLI, by using the two Golden Finger bridges on those cards to run in tri-mode. The nForce 200 SouthBridge supports a single UltraDMA 133/100/66/33 port and 6 SATA II 3.0 Gb/second ports for storage capabilities. The UltraDMA interface is a bit old but is useful for DVD drives and can be used to install an IDE HDD for storage if you still have one. Six SATA devices are supported by the nForce 200 SouthBridge.