NForce 780a Hybrid SLI Tested

Test Components

System Hardware
ProcessorAMD Phenom X3 8750, 2.40GHz, 1.5 MB L2 + 2 MB L3 Cache
MotherboardASUS M3N-HT Deluxe, BIOS 0708 (04/25/2008)
RAMCrucial Ballistix PC2-6400, 2x 2048 MB, CAS 4.0-4-4-12
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar 16 WD5000AAKS
500 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB Cache, SATA 300
NetworkingNVIDIA nForce onboard Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics CardsGigabyte GeForce 9800GX2, 1024 MB RAM
Gigabyte GeForce 8500GT, 256 MB RAM
Gigabyte GeForce 8400GS, 256 MB RAM
Power SupplyCoolermaster RS850-EMBA (850W, ATX12V v2.2)
System Software & Drivers
OSWindows Vista Ultimate 6.0.6000 (Vista Retail)
DirectX VersionDirectX 10.0
Platform DrivernVIDIA nForce Version 18.11
Graphics DrivernVIDIA ForceWare 175.14

The Asus M3N-HT Deluxe carries the flag for NVidia’s latest 780a SLI chipset, waving the Hybrid SLI banner high.

Hybrid Power and GeForce Boost both rely on discrete graphics processors for 3D performance, so we got a few from Gigabyte. The firm’s 9800GX2 part number GV-NX98X1GHI-B will allow us to access hybrid power efficiency on the most power-hungry of architectures, while its 8500GT and 8400GS, part numbers GV-NX85T256H and GV-NX84G256HE respectively, give us the current "spread" of GeForce Boost performance enhancement.

Many games are limited by the CPU rather than the graphics chip, so we needed a top processor model. AMD’s Phenom X3 has one more core than most games can support, uses the latest B3 stepping which has removed the previous TLB errata, and its X3 8750 comes clocked at an acceptable 2.40 GHz.

Heat is the enemy of stability, and while we’re not overclocking in today’s article the Zalman CNPS9700 prepares the same processor for future abuse.

We’ve used this same set of Crucial Ballistix through many builds, and its survival is a testament to its quality.

Another long-term survivor is Cooler Master’s Real Power Pro RS-850-EMBA, a unit that even withstood our previous system builder marathon’s 3-way SLI experiment...and the cabling tomfoolery required to connect the third card.

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18 comments
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  • cappster
    I am interested in seeing a high end card paired with the hybrid graphics. It kind of leaves an empty taste in my mouth with just testing the low end crap cards.
    0
  • scooterlibby
    "we were unable to test the chipset’s HybridPower capabilities"

    You'd think after writing this sentence they'd realize the article is pretty much moot, just read the title.
    -1
  • scooterlibby
    aggh nevermind I'm the idiot! I love you Tom's!! Take me back.
    0
  • Anonymous
    Why publish an incomplete article? Who wants an 8500 on a new board?
    -1
  • piratepast40
    Why is there no mention of the 780g platform and Hybrid Crossfire? The author makes it sound like Nvidia is the first out the door with the concept. I'm not saying one is better than the other but the bias is rather striking.
    4
  • Crashman
    The article had to be published on release day, in spite of the motherboard failing before 9800GX2 testing could be completed. NVidia isn't going to be happy either, considering the target market of the chipset.
    0
  • johnbilicki
    Asus is the Realtek of motherboards.

    You guys should RMA the board when it becomes publicly available provided it's not some supped up board merely for review purposes as Asus has been busted for. Oh whoever does the RMA should do it from home so they don't make the review connection so you can get the same crappy treatment I did.

    Then when you receive the RMA replacement please let us know if it's new or used and if there is any sperm on the north bridge.

    If the review wasn't marred by an Asus product then this would have been a top read. Well, at least we know nVidia has something fresh for AMD. We'll just have to wait until the Asus flood dries up so we can get reviews from manufacturers with class such as Gigabyte and MSI. Right now there is only decent true 16X+16X SLI motherboard for socket AM2 on Newegg, it's a Biostar motherboard.
    0
  • wild9
    Quote:
    Many games are limited by the CPU rather than the graphics chip, so we needed a top processor model.


    Past a certain resolution, I think most games are limited by the GPU. Some games will show hardly any difference between a fast processor and a slow one, assuming both processors are modern dual-core parts. The differences between Intel and AMD processors can be large, but it's not consistent.
    1
  • wild9
    So now we have nVidia 780a and AMD 780g chipsets..both available for AMD-based motherboards. This might lead to some confusion amongst prospective consumers.
    0
  • wild9
    Quote:
    At the other end of the performance scale, the 9800GX2 is so powerful that the AMD Phenom X3 8750 is unable to keep up (Prey).


    lol, 112fps..that's more than enough - if you have a spare Phenom you don't need I can put it to good use :D
    0
  • royalcrown
    even at a 300 percent boost, the hybrid would be CRAP...ooooh all the way from 2 to FOUR whole fps...wheee...lemme jump up n down !
    0
  • chaos23
    I think Hybrid SLI wasn't made to be paired with high end graphic cards like the 9800GX2. That card shouldn't have been included in the test.
    1
  • Christopher1
    This would be a good way to cut down on power consumption. When the graphics card isn't under stress, it could use the integrated graphics chipset. When it was under stress, it could automatically switch to the discrete graphics card/s or use both the integrated and discrete in tandem.
    0
  • caskachan
    isnt at least 1/3 of people expecting high end card+integrated performance gain, to see if it matters int he descicio when buying for a mobo for their super ultra high end vid card?
    -1
  • derek85
    What about AMD's 780G chipset? Shouldn't there be a comparison between the two at least??
    0
  • emergancy exit
    yeah ATI is already doing this has been for half of a year ......

    i guess it's just a small boost in horesepower a berley noticeable one if that but evry little bit helps
    0
  • stridervm
    I wish there was a comparison between Hybrid Crossfire and Hybrid SLI, even if it will be a little unfair (Due to Intel's processors being more powerful.) but at least it will get us a rough idea.)
    0
  • Anonymous
    When will we see a GeForce 9400 mGPU paired up with a 260 or 280? I wanna see how that preforms! (it's going to be my next motherboard, I think)
    0