XFX nForce 680i Reviewajmatson -
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First, I want to start off saying the XFX 680i was a pleasure to test. Everything from setting it up, to testing it was painless. As for the benchmarks, I think they speak for themselves. It was a little behind the ASUS P5K, which is based off of the Intel P35 Chipset, but was dead on or better than the DFI Lanparty, which is based on the Nvidia 680i Chipset, the same as the XFX 680i. As for gaming benchmarks, the XFX nForce 680i SLi was right where it should be giving the other motherboards a run for their money. One of the biggest features I really liked on the XFX 680i is the debug LED which is critical for someone who overclocks their systems, so that if something fails you can easily tell where your problem is. Here at OCC we like to push our hardware components to the limit, so that feature was a winner for me. Also having two x16 PCI-e slots and an x8 slot is a bonus for those of you who are gamers. This gives you the ability to run two graphics cards in SLi mode, and either add a third for additional monitors, or to add a PhysX card to your system for the most realistic playing you can get.
Next, I want to comment on the ease of being able to overclock the XFX 680i. The BIOS features profiles which you can save and load at will. With EPP profiles, the XFX 680i will automatically overclock your memory without much interaction from the user, but if you are like me and want to go ever further, the options you can adjust are limitless. Also, I noticed that if I pushed the limits too far and the system would not boot, I was able to reset to the defaults so that I could get back in, without having to manually clear the BIOS jumper. Since overclocking is what we here at OCC are all about, this little extra makes a world of difference. On the down side, I was annoyed on the placement of the front panel connectors, which were sandwiched between the RAM slots and the IDE port on the middle of the board. This made for routing the front panel header wires harder, and they kept getting tangled in all of the other cabling. It would have been nice just to leave them on the bottom of the motherboard for better access. Also the lack of an eSATA port was a negative, since it is becoming a more popular connector for external hard drives, and a lot of other high end boards include it. Other than that this board was one of the best I have had the privilege to use, and would recommend it to any gamer or enthusiast. XFX could have not picked a better slogan when they said "Play Hard".
- Two x16 and one x8 PCI-e Slot for expandability.
- Vista Capable for those wanting DX10.
- Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports with NVidia FirstPacket Technology.
- Ease of Overclocking.
- MediaShield technology.
- Easy to install and setup.
- Bonus Lost Planet DX10 game came in test box.
- Poorly placed front panel headers.
- No eSATA port.