Welp, I had several pairs of Vid Cards floating around, so I decided I better pony up for a new SLI board and see what can be done with them. So I Ordered a P5N72-T because its supposedly a maximus formula/Striker with NVidia chipset. Which means it should have a fully functional Load Line Calibration to offset the effects of Vdrop and droop... why would that matter...?
P5N-D. Simple board for 150 bucks that has PCIx 2.0 support, and SLI, not crossfire. Thats great! Just what we all need. If it works... And if it overclocks, because I can deal with one Vid card if the choice if a fast overclocker, or a fast video card system.
We all know that the 650i and 680i chipset hates on quad core processors, and since this is basically a 650i with added support for PCIx 2.0 lanes, that doesnt bode well for overclocking! However, it appears that the board works fine at 400FSB with the q6x00 series!
There has been a few people reporting that the board is hard to OC, and the usual bugs. To be honest, We all know of the NVidias chipset using Maximum Spec intel VDrop and droop. Meaning you get about .1 loss because of those two. VDrop is initially .0500 and VDroop is .04, but gets worse wehen you add VCore, and for my 3.2 Ghz @ 400 FSB with a X 8 Multi.
I needed 1.41250 in the Bios to yield a weakened 1.31ish. (Vid was 1.2500) Oww! Thats a huge disappointment, as its worse than some other NVidia boards! (Well, it is just a 650i, so of course its worse than the 780i that I had experience on.)
Thats where the VID comes in, if you happen to have an exceptionally low VID chip, the VDroop/drop combo wouldnt matter as much, though its effects would be there, as your chip would Idle at .1 volts more than needed. But a 1.2000 VID q6600 can get 3.6 with a Loaded VCore of 1.3100. So poof, add a x 9 multiplier and there is your 3.6
And all it took were Up the NB to 1.40, HT to 1.300, the 1.500 volt I/O to 1.5500 and disable the spread spectrum control and CPU options. Thats it. 400 Mhz FSB Stable THOUGH I did use a x 8 multi because my back up cooler is a silent square, and it blows, and I needed to set the voltage way up to compensate for the VCore drop and droop.
But a good volt mod or a Good VID processor will also work! Dont expect alot of OC options! there is no VRef control at all, and new things like static read control and transaction booster are a thing of the future when you are using a 650i! Upgraded... However, the Sli worked flawlessly, and that was the needed results of my tests. When my Xiggy and P5N72-T gets here, I will get 3.6 and get the pics.
So far, its a thumbs up. You can overclock it pretty good. And as long as I can get 3.6 with a q6600, I know its not a waste to use SLI as well.
If you want to see a particular test done, or anything like that, feel free to request it! So far all I did was Prime it for 2 hours, and play crysis in SLI for 2 more hours! Thats enough stability to have a solid working ground to get the rest tuned up.
A day into it and I dont really see any problems, other than the massive Vdrop and droop. That's a processor overclock killer!
It has "seamless" strap adjustment, so you can just enter a number, and it auto finds the "right" strap to NB. We all know that sometimes the strap and the frequency doesnt like each other, and on this board, you can't change the strap, so you have to make a minor adjustment to the FSB, so it re calculates its "auto" strap. Only took 10 freezes during prime 95 for me to realize that something was up. Prime never freezes. It BSODs or fails for me, never freezes, but a 1.1 Mhz FSB adjustment upward solved the problem, so be warned of it.
I dislike anything that makes it look like an OC failure, and freezing is kind of vague! But now you know! Busted off near 17000 3dmark with no fine tuning. Thats not to bad!
So far, it's worth the 150 bucks. (hell, as long as its 400 FSB stable, its worth the 150 bucks, unless you have a multiplier locked chip thats FSB reliant!) In the next day or two I will try and max the FSB and see how high it goes.
If anyone has a test they'd like to see done, feel free to ask!