Motherboard Guide

NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI Chipset review

NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI Performance Review

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NVIDIA Does DDR3

NVIDIA Does DDR3

For those that still remember, we talked about the problems with NVIDIA's latest nForce 700i family of chipsets in our review of the ASUS P5N-T Deluxe two months back. This issue stemmed from the fact that the two chipsets available, the nForce 750i SLI and nForce 780i SLI were nothing more than a refresh of the older nForce 600i series with a discrete PCI Express 2.0 controller slapped onto it like a band aid.

The nForce 790i SLI was to be the true successor to 2006's nForce 600i SLI; the first real major overhaul in chipset technology for NVIDIA in years, and the wait is finally over. The nForce 790i SLI is designed to match up with Intel's newest technologies, natively supporting all 45nm Core 2 processors, the new 1600MHz FSB standard, 3-way and quad SLI, plus it will also be NVIDIA's first DDR3-based chipset. NVIDIA's late entry into the DDR3 scene may seem like they're playing catch up to the blistering pace Intel is setting, but the nForce 790i SLI is a trump card with plenty of tricks up its sleeve to keep things interesting.

The nForce 790i SLI is actually split into two SKUs: the nForce 790i Ultra SLI and the nForce 790i SLI. If you look at their technical specifications below, both are virtually identical except for enhanced memory support on the Ultra variant, which features NVIDIA's second generation EPP memory standard. As such, we will only refer to the nForce 790i Ultra SLI for the rest of this review.

Technical Features nForce 790i Ultra SLI nForce 790i SLI
Estimated Board Pricing
  • US$350
  • US$250
CPU Support
  • Intel LGA775
  • Intel 65nm and 45nm Core 2
  • Yorkfield and Penryn Ready
  • Intel LGA775
  • Intel 65nm and 45nm Core 2
  • Yorkfield and Penryn Ready
FSB Support
  • 1600MHz PSB (400MHz FSB)
  • 1600MHz PSB (400MHz FSB)
PCI Express Configuration
  • 60 lanes total (32 PCIe 2.0, 28 PCIe 1.0)
  • Three x16, one x8 and six x1 configuration
  • Triple graphics slot capable
  • 60 lanes total (32 PCIe 2.0, 28 PCIe 1.0)
  • Three x16, one x8 and six x1 configuration
  • Triple graphics slot capable
SLI Graphics Support
  • 3-way SLI/ Quad SLI
  • Two�PCIe x16 2.0
  • One PCIe x16 1.0
  • 3-way SLI/ Quad SLI
  • Two�PCIe x16 2.0
  • One PCIe x16 1.0
Memory Support
  • DDR3-2000 (with EPP 2.0)
  • SLI-Ready Memory
  • DDR3-1333
  • SLI-Ready Memory
FirstPacket Technology
  • Yes
  • Yes
DualNet Technology
  • Teaming
  • TCP/IP acceleration
  • Teaming
  • TCP/IP acceleration
Integrated Ethernet MAC
  • Dual 10/100/1000Mbps
  • Dual 10/100/1000Mbps
Audio Support
  • HD Audio (Azalia)
  • HD Audio (Azalia)
Storage Support
  • Six SATA 3.0Gbps ports
  • SATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
  • Single channel Ultra ATA-133
  • Six SATA 3.0Gbps ports
  • SATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
  • Single channel Ultra ATA-133
USB 2.0 Ports
  • 10
  • 10
PCI Slots
  • 5
  • 5
Others
  • ESA Certified
  • ESA Certified