NVIDIA nForce 680i LT SLI

Design and Features

Design and Features

Now that we've seen what's missing from the 680i LT SLI chipset in comparison to the full 680i SLI, let's see what this board has going for it. As mentioned before, the board is built upon a basic green PCB using a standard ATX form factor, and has been designed meticulously with the gamer/enthusiast in mind. The design of this board, at its core, is identical to eVGA's full 680i board, although the features listed on the previous page are simply not installed on the PCB. You can still see the solder points for the dedicated second NIC, third PCIe slot, and diagnostic LED code display on this board. 



The board features a Socket-775 interface, fully capable of handling all nature of dual and quad-core Intel processors in this particular form factor. The board also supports the soon-to-be-released 1333 MHz FSB based Core 2 processors, so you've got some measure of future-proofing built-in with this board. The CPU socket is left mostly clear around its edges, and most large Socket-775 coolers will have no problem fitting on this board. The socket is surrounded by heatsinks on nearly all sides - to the top and left by VRM cooling heatsinks and to the bottom by the nForce 680i LT Northbridge cooler.

The nForce 680i LT SLI's memory controller supports up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory over 4 x DDR2 DIMM sockets. The DIMM sockets are close to four of the motherboard's Serial ATA ports, so this area can get quite crowded if you're using these SATA ports along with a full set of memory modules. As we've mentioned before, the board is capable of overclocking well past DDR2-800 speeds (we were able to run up to 1155 MHz in testing), and the board also features memory speed alteration independent of the FSB, meaning you can push the memory speed as far as you like without touching the processor's front side bus speeds.

The actual nForce 680i LT SLI chipset is comprised of two components, the SPP which is cooled by a hefty chipset cooler with a 50mm cooling fan, along with the MCP which sits between the PCI Express slots and is cooled by a smaller, shorter cooler with a low-speed fan. 

nForce 680i SPP

nForce 680i MCP

The MCP cooler is a very low-speed unit, and is nearly inaudible when running. However, the larger SPP chipset cooler can be quite loud when running at full speed. This cooler was the loudest component of our testbed setup. Nvidia does let you alter the SPP chipset cooler's speed down to 50% of its full speed level, but even at this level, the cooler is still audible in most environments. Enthusiasts who want a lower-noise environment should note that this cooler can be removed (of course, voiding your warranty) and replaced with a third party chipset cooler, as the standard chipset cooler mounting pegs are indeed in place. We would have preferred that eVGA/Nvidia come up with a lower-noise solution to chipset cooling, but given that this product is targeting the cost conscious consumer, it's not surprising to see deluxe chipset cooling go.

Tags:  Nvidia, nforce, sli, force, 680, id

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