790i Ultra SLI Motherboards Compared

Onboard Devices

XFX nForce 790i Ultra (Revision 01)
Northbridge Nvidia nForce 790i Ultra SLI SPP
Southbridge Nvidia nForce 790i Ultra SLI MCP
Voltage Regulator Six Phases
BIOS P06 (06/25/2008)
333.3 MHz (FSB-1333) 333.3 MHz (+0.0%)
Clock Generator Nvidia
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard 3x PCIe x16 (Transfer Modes: 2x 2.0, 1x 1.0)
2x PCIe x1
2x PCI
2x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Serial Port header
1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
7x Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s
1x Front Panel Audio
1x Internal Power Button
1x Internal Reset Button
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU/Chassis)
4x Fan 3 pins (Chassis/Chipset)
IO panel 2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse )
2x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF optical + coaxial)
1x External SATA
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
6x USB 2.0
6x Analog Audio Jack (7.1 ch. out, Mic+Line In)
2x RJ-45 Network
Mass Storage Controllers
nForce 790i MCP 6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD)
JMicron JMB362 PCI-E 1x eSATA + 1x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Network
2x Broadcom B5071A2KFBG PCI-E 2x Gigabit LAN Connection
Audio
Realtek ALC888S 7.1 + 2 channel Multi-Streaming Output
FireWire
Texas Instruments TSB43AB22A PCI 2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mbit/s)

An otherwise typical high-end device list stands out only because the XFX nForce 790i Ultra has seven SATA ports and one eSATA port, rather than the expected 6+2 combination.

Rear panel connections include two PS/2 ports, coaxial and optical digital audio outputs, a single eSATA port, an IEEE-1394 FireWire port, six USB 2.0 ports, six analog audio jacks, and two Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The XFX nForce 790i Ultra is the second motherboard in today’s comparison to use the tiny JMicron JMB362 2-port SATA controller for eSATA. Below it is the oddly-placed internal connection to the same controller.

Defying conventional wisdom, the XFX nForce 790i Ultra uses solid capacitors for its Realtek ALC888S audio controller, and electrolytic capacitors in most other areas. The electrolytic capacitors are Samxon brand, a name that has earned a great deal of respect compared to other non-Japanese brands.

The XFX nForce 790i Ultra’s TSB43AB22A IEEE-1394 FireWire controller is hidden beneath a PCI Express x16 slot latch. In front of it, an old-fashioned socket-mounted BIOS ROM is easily replaced in the event of a bad flash.

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  • trainreks
    FINNALY !!!! A Review on the 790i
  • doxicity
    Mystery Motherboard = GA-N780Ultra-DQ6?
  • Crashman
    This was ALL OF THE AVAILABLE 790i Ultra SLI MOTHERBOARDS: Other graphics brands with NVIDIA reference boards INCLUDING EVGA are selling the same unit as XFX, even with the same BIOS (except for the boot logo). XFX was the only one who cared to send one.
  • giovanni86
    Thats what i was going to say!!! Thank god. Well i guess i made the right choice. XFX 790i, exactly what i am going to buy in the coming month. Just need to save for it XD.
  • jaragon13
    Who would pay four hundred dollars,when you can just buy a P45 for 100-150 dollars which has roughly the same real world experience as an X48 or 790I?
    Nah,I'd rather buy better and more reliable parts-such as power supply,processor,GRAPHICS CARD,and maybe go buy a rifle :P
  • kitsilencer
    $400 for a motherboard? What the hell is wrong with the X48 Express that people would rather consider buying a 790i? And it can't be because of SLI. Makes more sense to buy the X48 and Crossfire.
  • Crashman
    jaragon13Who would pay four hundred dollars,when you can just buy a P45 for 100-150 dollars which has roughly the same real world experience as an X48 or 790I?Nah,I'd rather buy better and more reliable parts-such as power supply,processor,GRAPHICS CARD,and maybe go buy a rifle


    If you want SLI you're going to need an SLI motherboard. The article specifically stated that the reference design motherboard was almost as good in many ways as the winning board, but far cheaper.

    The site only has two awards, one is for top value and the other is for "best of the best". It's hard to award a $350 motherboard for top value, but it's not so difficult awarding the "best of the best" even if the price is outrageous
  • Crashman
    kitsilencer$400 for a motherboard? What the hell is wrong with the X48 Express that people would rather consider buying a 790i? And it can't be because of SLI. Makes more sense to buy the X48 and Crossfire.


    It does! Well, sorta. If you want the absolute fastest rig on the planet, you're going to need at least two, possibly three, GTX280's. But if you can wait a few days or maybe a couple weeks, you might be surprised at how well a Crossfire set of HD4870X2's can perform using an X48 motherboard.
  • jaragon13
    My point is that,even though you could theoritically have 3/4 GPU's all at once,you won't get nearly as much performance as you'd want.A simple 750I or P45 chipset will do nearly the same job.
  • zer00000
    It is a foxconn board i bet.I just read a review elsewhere with same stuff except it had an x48 chipset."All manner of goodies are bundled with the Black Ops: a 120MM fan, a plastic dry ice cooling pot for the Northbridge, and a Plexiglas "benching table" for open-air use."
  • ovaltineplease
    For anyone thinking of grabbing these boards - confirm that the manufacturer has a bios fix for drive corruption if you intend to use RAID; its a known issue.
  • sirrell
    Hey i just bought an EVGA's nForce 790i Ultra SLI 775 A1 Version Motherboard can you test this against them please?
    I wanna see how my motherboard performs against these. :)
  • theLaminator
    Why buy a 790i? Just wait for Nehalem and get a mobo with the x58 chipset. It supports SLI and CrossFire. Seems like the way to go to me. http://www.custompc.co.uk/news/604443/intel_x58_chipset_to_support_sli_and_crossfire.html
  • Crashman
    sirrellHey i just bought an EVGA's nForce 790i Ultra SLI 775 A1 Version Motherboard can you test this against them please?I wanna see how my motherboard performs against these.


    The EVGA motherboard WAS tested. It's the same motherboard as XFX sells. EVGA has never made a motherboard, it buys them from other companies, and in this case XFX and EVGA buy the SAME motherboard from the SAME company. Even the BIOS is the same, which you'd probably know if you read a little more of the article.

    XFX wants your business more than EVGA, which is why XFX sent a motherboard when EVGA did not. In fact, EVGA wouldn't even respond to the request.
  • Crashman
    theLaminatorWhy buy a 790i? Just wait for Nehalem and get a mobo with the x58 chipset. It supports SLI and CrossFire. Seems like the way to go to me. http://www.custompc.co.uk/news/604 [...] sfire.html


    X58 DOES NOT support SLI any more than the X48 did. Either motherboard could use the nForce 200 bridge to let NVIDIA's graphics driver SEE the "Compatibility". It's all driver tricks, as Intel chipsets supported SLI until NVIDIA locked Intel out in the graphics driver.

    So, we might see some X58 motherboards with an nForce 200, and we might also see some that don't have it. All that is well and fine if you're interested in waiting for the "next big thing". But if you want to buy now and instead wait for the next big thing...perhaps you'll see something else on the horizon by then, and never buy anything.
  • efranchi
    mmhh...I would like if asus make a "ready-watercooled" motherboard. For someone who want a silent PC, watercooled, is there a motherboard better than evga 790 ultra black pearl?
  • surfbum
    just so everyone knows, the "mystery motherboard" is a foxconn board. i was just on their website the other day and they had some information on this board which is no longer there. any they are the only company that has a LN2 cooling solution for the chipset
  • Niva
    Looks like both nVidia and Intel are guilty of not providing information to each other. Intel for not giving the specs to run the 45nm chips and nVidia for restricting the driver on Intel chips... that second move by nVidia sounds borderline monopolistic. Surprised they haven't ended up in courts, no wonder tensions are so high between these companies.
  • Crashman
    NivaLooks like both nVidia and Intel are guilty of not providing information to each other. Intel for not giving the specs to run the 45nm chips and nVidia for restricting the driver on Intel chips... that second move by nVidia sounds borderline monopolistic. Surprised they haven't ended up in courts, no wonder tensions are so high between these companies.


    Both moves are monopolistic, but you could say NVIDIA delivered the first shot in this war since SLI has been restricted for so long.

    I was surprised about the news that Intel had traded "permission to use the nForce 200 on Intel chipsets" for its new CPU interface: That would mean Intel gets nothing (still has to buy an nVidia chipset component) while NVIDIA keeps on rolling.
  • anartik
    Yup... all it took was the mention of the liquid nitrogen tower to know it had to be a 790i version of the Foxconn Blackops. If it does come out I hope it's considerably better and more reliable than their disaster of an X48 board. Hmmm... maybe thats why this board is delayed or cancelled. Just having a notable overclocker jump ship from DFI to Foxconn does not turn a traditional junk maker into a shining star.