EVGA nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM Motherboard
A Closer Look at the Board
EVGA typically uses black PCBs for its motherboards, and the nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM is no exception. As you can see below, the board is black and sports bright green, blue, white, black, and red connectors. Overall, the layout of the board is very logical and did not pose any problems for us during installation.
The EVGA nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM features four DDR3 DIMM slots: two blue and two black. Closer to the edge of the board, you will find the 24-pin ATX power connector, and the IDE connector. The final connectors in the first picture that are worth pointing out are the four SATA connectors that are in between the DIMM slots and the IDE connector. At first, this may seem like a strange place to put these SATA connectors, but EVGA did this in order to prevent the connectors from being covered up and unusable when a PCI Express graphics card is installed in the first PCI Express x16 slot. Kudos to EVGA for doing this. We've used way too many boards where this isn't even a consideration, and at least two SATA connectors are lost once a video card is installed. It's refreshing to see a company design a board such that all the connectors are actually usable. In the second image below, you can see the 90-degree floppy connector, two 90-degree SATA connectors, and the LED POST code readout, which can be very helpful when troubleshooting a problem with the board. Additionally, you can see the heatsink on top of the NVIDIA MCP chip. In the third picture, we zoomed in on the headers in this corner of the board. Pictured here are the front panel header, the serial port bracket connector, and two USB headers. In between the headers, EVGA included a clear CMOS button, which is definitely a welcomed addition on any board.
In the next two pictures, you can see the LGA 775 CPU socket and the clearance around the socket. Since this board is geared towards enthusiasts, you can bet EVGA decided to give you plenty of clearance for big coolers. Surrounding the CPU socket is the board's cooling mechanism, which includes heatpipes, fins and the active cooling on the nForce 790i SLI SPP chip. In the second picture, you can see the digital PWM above the CPU socket (the components have "CPL-4-50" written on them). These help increase stability during overclocking, and these are what make this board special.
Here is the area of the board many of you are no doubt very interested in. You can see the three bright green PCI Express x16 slots, which of course enable users to rock a 3-way SLI setup. Amongst the three PCI Express x16 slots, you will also find two PCI Express x1 slots and two PCI slots. Additionally, there are three red SATA connectors in this area. In the second picture below, you probably noticed the yellow and green buttons. These are onboard power (green) and reset (yellow) buttons, one more thoughtful convenience EVGA included in its design. Above these buttons, you can see one of the five 3-pin fan headers on the board.. One of our pet peeves is when a company only includes three or less fan headers. We definitely like to see too many rather than not enough when it comes to fan headers.
The following three pictures are intended to give you a good look at all the cooling hardware installed on the nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM. We think it is a good design that adds a nice bit of style to the board. The shroud around the fan that sits on top of the SPP sports the EVGA logo and the words "790i Digital" to let people know how you're rolling. As we already mentioned, the MCP is cooled passively with a slick heatsink.
No motherboard is complete without its rear I/O. This board sports the following connectors: PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, coaxial SPDIF output, optical SPDIF output, eSATA, FireWire, 8-channel audio, six USB 2.0, and two LAN ports.