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EVGA's New 790i Motherboard Should Delight Overclockers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 17 comments

EVGA has announced a new motherboard based on Nvidia’s popular nForce 790i SLI chipset. The EVGA 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM supports DDR3 memory, a 1,600MHz front-side bus, PCI Express 2.0, and—according to EVGA—a bevy of electronic, mechanical, and BIOS features to facilitate aggressive overclocking.

Digital power management is this socket-775 board’s primary claim to fame. EVGA maintains that giving the user precise control over how the high-voltage power line is stepped down to the required processor core voltage will provide increased stability while overclocking (the PWM acronym in the $340 board’s name stands for pulse width modulation; we can guess what FTW stands for). EVGA claims that their use of solid-state capacitors and 100-percent ferrite-core chokes should also improve the board’s signal-to-noise ratios in extreme overclocking situations.

The 790i Digital PWM will also allow experienced overclockers to disable Vdroop from within the BIOS. Vdroop is a design feature inherent to Intel’s CPU architecture; it protects the CPU from voltage spikes as the processor swings between light and heavy workloads. EVGA maintains that Vdroop can be a problem for aggressive overclockers. If you increase the core voltage to 1.5 volts, for example, Vdroop might overcompensate during one of these workload swings and cause voltage to the core to momentarily sag to 1.4 volts, causing the system to become unstable. With Vdroop disabled, according to EVGA, voltage flowing to the core should remain relatively constant. EVGA reasons that overclockers will equip their rigs with improved cooling solutions and better-quality power supplies, factors that they believe render Vdroop unnecessary.

Those interested in achieving the benefits of overclocking without the risk of blowing up their computer, on the other hand, will appreciate the noob-friendly features in EVGA’s BIOS, including a collection of pre-validated voltage settings that will deliver five to 25-percent overclocking without risk.

And for those who prefer to benchmark their components without mounting everything inside a case, the motherboard features power-on and reset buttons right on the PCB; the power-on button even has an integrated hard drive activity LED. Another button will reset the board’s CMOS values. Other hardware features on the motherboard include the presence of two 1GB NICs, nine SATA ports, 10 USB 2.0 ports, an onboard LED for displaying POST codes, and four DIMM slots to accommodate up to 8GB of DDR3 memory running at up to 2GHz in dual-channel mode.

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  • 0 Hide
    one-shot , October 3, 2008 12:11 AM
    I'm weary of Nvidia chipsets. My first motherboard had a 570 chipset. I'll stick with Intel..for awhile
  • 0 Hide
    donkeypunch , October 3, 2008 12:31 AM
    Yep, I'll never go back to Nvidia boards. I got stuck with a 680i board because the builder had no x38's or P35's at the time. I never intended to use SLI but my biggest disappointment was the lousy memory support. If I use 4 Dimms its unstable, if I use 2 Dimms and try to run anything over 800mhz its unstable. Many forums report using 2.2 or more volts will fry your memory over time. Just a lousy memory controller. Intel only from now on for me.
  • 2 Hide
    roofus , October 3, 2008 1:39 AM
    been running a 780i board without incident. overclocks very good and is very stable. i would definitely agree with donkeypunch on the voltage to the memory controller. they are very delicate.
  • -4 Hide
    jaragon13 , October 3, 2008 1:59 AM
    Great design/idea,shitty ass Nvidia chipset which is old/buggy/slow and based on the ever monolithic 90nm process...And these new additions do what? Make it equal to that of the last generation of Intel motherboards?
  • 2 Hide
    anonymous x , October 3, 2008 2:12 AM
    ??? most reviews I have read show the 790i ultra chipset to be better than X38, dunno why all the negative comments
  • 1 Hide
    ilovebarny , October 3, 2008 2:30 AM
    i just got my E6750 to 3.6 ghz with the fsb set at 1750 mhz. on a 680i mobo. evan got my ocz ram (3gb) to 1066mhz from 800mhz, it wont go any farther though on the ram.
  • -2 Hide
    physx7 , October 3, 2008 2:55 AM
    worrrd man worrrd.....[/stupid comment]
  • 0 Hide
    baseline , October 3, 2008 6:01 AM
    Nice enough board great features and all but what's the point? We are about one month away from i7 and not only a new socket but new architecture as well. Considering this board is aimed at the high end who in this market segment is going to spend $340.00 for a mb when the socket will essentially be obsolete in a month?
  • 0 Hide
    giovanni86 , October 3, 2008 7:33 AM
    i am...... I hate obsolete... But i have no choice. The price will drop as soon as the new socket comes around.
  • 1 Hide
    jaragon13 , October 3, 2008 11:31 AM
    Why pay 400 dollars for a board which has the efficiency incredibly worse than that of the competitors? Do you know how many problems I've had with Nvidia chipsets? Sure,you can overclock a conroe to 3.6Ghz.Good for you.

    I could do the same with a Pentium D.

    Overclocking is not always the determining factor of a good motherboard.
  • 0 Hide
    cow_moo , October 3, 2008 4:08 PM
    ya I have a EVGA 780i and it's very stable even at 4.0GHz on air so what u guys talking smack about Nvidia boards. Also they have the fastest chipset out so games usually want to use the latest and greatest
  • 0 Hide
    physx7 , October 3, 2008 4:10 PM
    What is your CPU?
  • 0 Hide
    ilovebarny , October 3, 2008 8:15 PM
    Aaa make that 3.5Mhz. computer freezes up at 3.6mhz but im going to keep trying to get it there. this is just my first try to overclock so.
  • 0 Hide
    giovanni86 , October 3, 2008 11:01 PM
    I was hoping to buy either the XFX or the EVGA 790i boards. I am just waiting for the new socket to come out and maybe just maybe the price will drop on the 790i's which is when i plan on buying one. It might be outdated but as we all know new doesn't necessarily mean better when it comes to the new socket coming out. Until benchmarks come out, which might be awhile before we see anything considering the new socket has yet to come out. Only time will tell.
  • 0 Hide
    amonymous , October 4, 2008 12:25 AM
    Does a 280 GTX block up the RAM clips if you put it into the first PCI-E x16 slot? It looks like they added that as a additional enthusiast technology...
  • 0 Hide
    amonymous , October 4, 2008 12:26 AM
    amonymousDoes a 280 GTX block up the RAM clips if you put it into the first PCI-E x16 slot? It looks like they added that as a additional enthusiast technology...

    On closer inspection it might not... Comes close though.
  • 0 Hide
    roofus , October 4, 2008 3:54 PM
    It doesn't. My 780i looks the same but it clears.