There has been no question about the best chipsets for Intel platform until recently: they were designed by Intel, of course. However, the market realities have changed now: there is another highly ambitious player in the chipset market – Nvidia Corporation. And although they haven’t been able to roll out high-quality solutions for LGA775 systems for quite some time, sooner or later they had to break through.
The new Nvidia nForce 680i SLI is a serious candidate for success. Unlike its predecessors, this chipset is a pretty mature solution, free from numerous “children’s diseases”. Therefore, those users who prefer Nvidia graphics and are going to use SLI configurations should definitely go for the newcomer. Especially, since there are hardly any real alternatives in the today’s market for an SLI system based around Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processors.
If you are not interested in putting together an SLI system, then we wouldn’t recommend Nvidia nForce 680i SLI as a basis for your platform at this time. The thing is that the only mainboard available today is the reference mainboard and it didn’t prove the best in our performance, overclocking and power consumption tests. In other words, it couldn’t outperform the overclocker’s solutions in Intel 975X Express and Intel P965 Express chipsets in any of the practical tests, except the formal specifications, though.
So, if you are happy with the today’s Intel 975X Express and Intel P965 Express based mainboards, then there is no need for you to switch to Nvidia nForce 680i SLI. As for us, we will continue testing new Nvidia nForce 600i chipset family for Intel platform as soon as we get our hands on the mainboards based on manufacturer’s own design, not the reference. And hopefully most of the problems we have described in our today’s articles will go away with the new BIOS versions and new design layouts.