Here at HotHardware, we have a special place in our hearts for companies that transcend the norm in order to better appeal to the small, niche group of hardware fanatics that we like to call enthusiasts. The end result often times is that new design innovations are also introduced to the mainstream, due in part to this focus on the technophile's requirements. As such, when we saw EVGA's latest nForce 790i SLI-based motherboard, we had to get it in our labs to take a closer look at it.
Today, we finally have the opportunity to present our thoughts and performance results from testing the EVGA nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM motherboard (EVGA part number: 132-YW-E180-A1). The name of the board is definitely a mouthful, but don't let that turn you off. This is definitely one special board that has a lot to offer. For starters, it sports three PCI Express x16 slots for 3-way SLI, and it boasts support for up to nine SATA 3Gbps drives. Additionally, the mainboard supports 2,000MHz dual channel DDR3 with EPP and a front side bus up to 1,600MHz. The board was designed with enthusiasts in mind though, so you can rest assured that EVGA also includes a plethora of overclocking options in the BIOS. Continuing the trend, EVGA appeals to enthusiasts even further by offering a digital PWM, an 8-phase power design, VDroop control, 100% solid state capacitors, and onboard clear CMOS, power and reset buttons.
EVGA definitely put a lot of thought and work into the design of its nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM motherboard. In the following pages, we'll show you the details of that design, and we'll see what type of performance the board offers when compared to an Intel X38 Express motherboard. Let's start things off by taking a quick look at the board's specifications and features.
EVGA nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM Key Features
|• Intel Socket 775 processors
• Front Side Bus: Up to 1600MHz+
• Memory: Dual channel DDR3 up to 2000MHz memory w/ EPP x 4 DIMMs; Max 8GB
• 3 x PCIe x16, 2 x PCIe x1, 2 x PCI
• IDE: ATA133 x 1
• SATA/RAID: Serial ATA 300MB/s x 9 w/ RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, JBOD; eSATA x 1
• Audio: 7.1 channel, Azalia (HDA)
• 10 USB 2.0 ports
• LAN: native gigabit ethernet x 2
• NVIDIA DualNet technology
• NVIDIA FirstPacket technology
|• Digital PWM|
• 8 Phase Power Design
• VDroop Control
• Enthusiast BIOS Enhanced
• 100% Solid State Capacitors
• Onboard Clear CMOS
• Onboard power and reset buttons with integrated status LEDs
• NVIDIA SLI ready (3-way SLI supported)
• NVIDIA MediaShield storage technology
• ESA Certified
EVGA packs the nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM motherboard and all the included accessories in a large, atom-inspired box. As usual, EVGA does a good job of highlighting all the great features of the product found inside the box. As you can see in the third picture below, the board itself is surrounded by plastic to protect it during shipping. All of the accessories simply rest between the plastic and the box walls. This works just fine, but sometimes it is nice to have the small accessory boxes that some companies use to hold all the extras.
Speaking of the extras, you can see the bundled accessories in the two pictures below. You will find the following amongst the included accessories: an EVGA driver installation CD, a rear case I/O panel, six SATA data cables, three SATA power cables, one rounded ATA133 cable, one rounded floppy cable, a 2-way SLI bridge, a 3-way SLI bridge, a serial port bracket, a USB port bracket, a FireWire port bracket, a Quick Install Guide, and a Users manual. We really like and appreciate the inclusion of the Quick Install Guide. It has a nice, big picture of the motherboard with installation instructions and important areas of the board identified.