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790i Ultra SLI Motherboards Compared

Nvidia Reference motherboards such as the tested XFX model are reputed to have the highest FSB support among 790i designs, and the minor X48 Express win barely dampened Nvidia’s victory over the “500 MHz barrier”. The 790i mystery motherboard is designed for below-ambient cooling, with unspectacular air cooling results.

Of course, a high achievable bus speed means little if the motherboard can’t keep the processor stable. The big surprise comes from Asus, which tied the X48 comparison motherboard for ultimate CPU speed. This same Striker II Extreme sample had given us disappointing overclocking results in our recent System Builder Marathon, but a BIOS update appears to have produced an almost magical improvement.

Asus has been doing wonderful things for memory overclocking, and again takes the lead with Nvidia’s 790i Ultra SLI. The Striker II Extreme has, in fact, set the record for overclocking these particular modules, beating Asus’ own P5E3-Premium. This win, along with the 790i chipset lead in Sandra Memory Bandwidth, establishes Nvidia’s dominance in the DDR3 controller market — at least until the next new Intel socket makes chipset memory controllers obsolete.

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