Nvidia nForce 650i Ultra Chipset Launch

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BIOS and Overclocking

BIOS and Overclocking

Like other members of eVGA's nForce 600-series Intel boards, their nForce 650i Ultra board is equipped with a Phoenix BIOS. The BIOS is nearly identical to that of its more expensive brethren, but has a few options removed or modified to suit the needs of this platform. While this platform does not seem like it would be the choice for overclockers, Nvidia claims that these boards will be able to run well past their intended frequencies.

Though the board does not offer limitless overclocking options, it is quite feature-packed in this area none-the-less. The BIOS supports FSB speeds up to 2500 MHz, vCore up to 1.6V, FSB voltage up to 1.4V, DDR2 voltage up to 2.1V, and you can push the nForce SPP up to 1.5V.  1.6V vCore and 2.1V DDR2 maximum voltage levels aren't sky high, so heavy overclockers should look at the 680i series instead. However, for moderate overclocking, the board has plenty of flexibility.

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No problem at 1600 MHz

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Pushing the limits at 1866 MHz

Nvidia claims that they were able to hit 2000 MHz FSB with dual-core processors on the 650i Ultra, and nearly up to 1800 MHz with quad-core processors, both of which are solid overclocks considering the lightweight, passively cooled 650i Ultra. We were not able to get that high with our testbed's dual-core processor, but we were able to overclock from default 1066 MHz up to 1866 MHz, which is about the same level we saw with the nForce 680i LT. In order to get this high, we did have to slightly boost the FSB and SPP voltage levels, as default voltage levels were only able to take the board to about 1600 MHz.

One interesting feature that Nvidia is promoting with the 650i series is GPU-level optimizations. With this 650i Ultra motherboard and a few companion Nvidia graphics cards, the motherboard and GPU work in cooperation for higher performance levels. Currently, the board they sent us to test this feature was a GeForce 7600 GS board, but this feature will also work with newer GeForce 8600 series boards as well. With the 650i Ultra (the 650i SLI chispet also works with this feature) board, and one of these graphics cards installed, the Nvidia control panel will show an "Auto" feature for clock speeds. When set, your graphics card will automatically clock up under heavy loads. Nvidia claims that this small performance boost can give it the edge over other budget-level motherboards.

At this time, this feature is not heavily promoted, as it does not work with Nvidia's high-end 8800 series GPUs. However, for budget-class systems, it's an added incentive to grab an Nvidia based graphics card with your new 650i series board. Nvidia is even considering bundles with 650i/GF7600 and 650i/GF8600 cards in the future, although details are not available yet. For testing purposes, we ran benchmarks with and without this optimization feature turned on, in order to show how much performance can be gained.

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Nvidia GPU/Nvidia MB Combo, Auto Option Enabled

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Nvidia GPU/Intel MB Combo, No Auto Option


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