EVGA nForce 750i SLI FTW Review
Thanks to memory manufacturers overestimating demand for Windows Vista, and the cutthroat competition between AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA going on right now, end users are enjoying bargain basement pricing on several system components: quad-core CPUs from Intel are currently starting right around $220, while 2GB DDR2 RAM kits are going for less than $50, and potent mainstream GPUs like the GeForce 9600 GT selling for under $150. With such low prices, gamers and hardware enthusiasts on a budget can now build a pretty powerful gaming system without having to spend a lot of money.
But one component that really hasn’t gone down in price the last 12 months is the motherboard. In fact, if anything motherboard prices may be slightly higher than they were a year ago. A quick glance at Newegg reveals nForce 780i SLI motherboards currently sell between $240-$300, while nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboards start around $330 and quickly go up from there!
With motherboard prices this high, what’s an enthusiast on a budget looking for an inexpensive SLI motherboard supposed to do?
This is where NVIDIA’s nForce 750i SLI chipset comes in. The nForce 750i SLI chipset is NVIDIA’s budget alternative to the nForce 780i SLI. The nForce 750i SLI chipset supports DDR2 memory, just like the nForce 780i SLI, as well as PCIe 2.0, and 1333MHz FSB operation. The key difference between the 750i SLI versus nForce 780i SLI is the lack of 3-Way SLI support, with just 26 PCIe lanes total the nForce 750i SLI chipset is limited to two x8 PCIe graphics slots when running a pair of GeForce cards in SLI mode. In addition, the nForce 750i SLI chipset is limited to max memory speed of 800MHz, 4 SATA ports with 8 USB 2.0, and one Gigabit Ethernet connection. In comparison the nForce 780i SLI supports DDR2 speeds of up to 1200MHz with NVIDIA’s EPP, 6 SATA ports and 10 USB 2.0 ports.
The following chart summarizes the feature set of NVIDIA’s nForce 7-series chipset lineup:
|nForce 7 Features Comparison|
|nForce 790i Ultra SLI||nForce 790i SLI||nForce 780i SLI||nForce 750i SLI|
|CPU Support||Penryn (Yorkfield and Wolfdale) Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Pentium||Penryn (Yorkfield and Wolfdale) Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Pentium||Penryn (Yorkfield and Wolfdale) Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Pentium||Penryn (Yorkfield and Wolfdale) Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Pentium|
|NVIDIA SLI Technology||Yes, 3-Way (3x16)||Yes, 3-Way (3x16)||Yes, 3-Way (3x16)||Yes, 2-Way (2x8)|
|Max Memory Speed||2000MHz (EPP 2.0)||1333MHz||1200MHz (EPP 1.0)||800MHz|
|# of PCIe Lanes||60 lanes||60 lanes||62 lanes||26 lanes|
|# of PCIe Links||10 links||10 links||12 links||6 links|
|PCIe Configuration||3x16 or 4x8, 1x16, 1x8, 4x1||3x16 or 4x8, 1x16, 1x8, 4x1||3x16 or 4x8, 1x16, 1x8, 6x1||1x16, 1x8, 2x1|
|RAID||0,1, 0+1, 5||0,1, 0+1, 5||0,1, 0+1, 5||0,1, 0+1, 5|
|NVIDIA MediaShield Storage Technology||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Native Gigabit Ethernet Connections||2||2||2||1|
|NVIDIA FirstPacket Technology||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|NVIDIA DualNet Technology||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|NVIDIA Control Panel Utility||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|NVIDIA System Monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Audio||High Definition Audio (Azalia)||High Definition Audio (Azalia)||High Definition Audio (Azalia)||High Definition Audio (Azalia)|
EVGA was one of the first manufacturers to release a motherboard based on the nForce 750i SLI chipset, their nForce 750i SLI FTW has been on the market for a little over a month now and has already proven highly popular among enthusiasts on a budget. EVGA claims the board is “engineered for the win”, today we’re going to take a closer look at the board. Does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out!