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More Than Just a 'Paper Launch': 680i Motherboard Comparison, Part 1

Overclocking

Defaulting to the proper 266.6 MHz bus speed, this beta BIOS version included only manual clock/voltage controls. All three boards offered multiplier adjustment and the full range of memory timings, and Nvidia's 680i memory controller offers too many memory ratios to list.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency100 - 625 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier AdjustmentYes
DRAM Frequency400-1400 MHz Data Rate
PCIe Clock100-131 MHz (1 MHz)
SPP-MCP HT Link Clock200-500 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU VcoreStock - +0.60V (0.0100V)
DRAM Voltage1.80 - 3.000V (0.025V)
Northbridge (SPP)1.20 - 1.40V (0.05V)
Southbridge (MCP)1.50 - 1.70V (0.05V)
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 1-6; tRCD: 1-7; tRP: 1-7; tRAS: 1-31; Command Rate: 1T/2T

Our Take

With our CPU's stock multiplier and 1.50V core, we reached the same 3.46 GHz speed as previous top boards have provided. Otherwise following Nvidia's recommended BIOS settings and dropping the CPU multiplier to 6x got us only so far as 397 MHz (FSB1588), even though Nvidia insists this is the best chipset for FSB overclocking.

Our failure to push bus speed sky high may be due to a missing FSB1333 N/B Strap in this Beta BIOS. Furthering this theory is that Abit allows manual N/B strap selection, and 1333 was missing from the menu. We look forward to retesting the board's overclocking ability in our January update.

One other concession Abit made towards the early sampling of its boards was to ship them without retail packaging, hence there is no accessory list at this time. We will still examine the board's performance, but must wait for retail availability before determining its overall value.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.