Intel or Nvidia? nForce 680i Challenges Intel P965 and 975X

Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6

This motherboard is set by default to perform automatic memory configuration via SPD. If you intend to overclock your system and memory, you'll have to switch to manual settings. When compared to the 975X chipset, the available memory multipliers aren't as comprehensive as what we found with the nForce 680i motherboard: Gigabyte implemented x2, x2.5, x2.66, x3, x3.33 and x4, which are the values that the chipset offers.

350 MHz base speed or FSB1400 was the fastest we could reach with this P965 motherboard.

Nvidia nForce 680i SLI

Here it is: the new nForce 680i SLI platform. According to Nvidia, this is a jack of all trades, and it didn't disappoint in our overclocking tests: we reached speeds as high as FSB1850 (462 MHz base clock speed) with an acceptable amount of effort! This clearly is a new record.

But that wasn't all. You can also overclock all system components individually: the three PCI Express slots, the system base clock and the memory. In addition, Nvidia supports DDR2-1066 speed and claims FSB1333 support, which certainly is more than credible after seeing our overclocking results. We will have to wait until the first FSB1333 processors hit the market, however, which won't happen before the advent of Intel's Bearlake chipset family (P/G35 for mainstream and X38 for enthusiasts).

The chipset offers built-in HD audio support (32-bit 192 KHz), ten USB 2.0 ports, real dual x16 PCI Express dual graphics, plus 14 additional PCIe links for add-on hardware. Nvidia included a nice bonus for those who add an Nvidia graphics card to this Nvidia-powered motherboard: LinkBoost will accelerate the bandwidth to GeForce graphics cards, and thus perform a bit better than with ATI cards.

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