IntroductionWhen GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS launched recently, the tech world went ga-ga as it loves to do when new technology launches. And what technology it is, NVIDIA sneaking a fully unified (in hardware) shading architecture out of the door first, supporting D3D10 and Microsoft Windows Vista and well as D3D9, along with all-new image quality highs. And all that tied to performance levels that not only blew the bloody doors off, but the roof and the walls and all other structurally important stuff keeping your pixellated house up.
All well-deserved and very awesome stuff for the desktop graphics business unit at NVIDIA to read about on launch day, I'm sure you'll agree. So it was a bit of a shame that the core logic group got less than 10% of the word count devoted to it, beside GeForce 8-series reviews, when their latest goodies are arguably the 8-series of the chipset world. We're guilty of it, our GTX review making scant mention of NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI, the core logic NVIDIA thinks can blow off the same bloody doors in the Core 2 Duo/Quad-supporting space as GeForce 8800 does in the world of graphics.
680i SLI sports a brand new SPP designed not only to support the latest Core 2 Quad processors, but to overclock like nothing else before it and bring new levels of adjustability to a modern LGA775 product, via implementation of that SPP and supporting MCP on a well-engineered, 6-layer, 6-phase mainboard.
Thus this review seeks to rectify our embarrassing oversight. It's not that we didn't want to tell you how good it is in more words, but we just didn't have the time. I spent too much time playing games on the GeForce to do the workup on the mainboard. My bad.
Unlike the last time NVIDIA released a new chipset, back with AMD and where the company partnered with the gargantuan Foxconn to create the very memorable C51XEM2AA (Socket AM2, nForce 590), this time they've gone it alone. They've created the entire board in-house and are taking care of the manufacture themselves via a partner, with a selection of their graphics AIB partners responsible for sales and marketing.
We nabbed the eVGA version, dubbed the eVGA nForce 680i SLI (yes, we're shocked at the sensible name too, so look out for Foxconn to call any 680i SLI effort of theirs the C680IL775SLI or something), and made it do naughty silicon-related things. Here's our report.