Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: All three of the motherboards we tested based on NVIDIA's new nForce 780a SLI chipset performed well throughout our entire battery of tests. The Asus M3N-HT Deluxe, CrossHair II Formula, and MSI K9N2 Diamond all put up scores on-par with or better than a Gigabyte motherbaord based on AMD's own 790FX chipset. The nForce 780a SLI IGP also performed well for an integrated solution and Hybrid Power and GeForce Boost worked as advertised. We saw solid scaling with GeForce Boost enabled and idle power consumption dropped considerably with Hybrid Power mode enabled.
NVIDIA may be a little late to the socket AM2+ game with the nForce 780a SLI chipset, but they have produced a solid high-end offering with some innovative features, nonetheless. Although we've had a relatively short time to pull this article together and haven't had as much experience with the boards as we would have liked, we think the nForce 780a SLI is going to be solid chipset for the AMD platform. We did experience some minor issues related to display detection when switching between the IGP and a discreet graphics card, but we suspect they'll be ironed out in short order with future BIOS and driver revisions.
In every measurable category, the nForce 780a SLI-based motherboards we've shown you here compete favorably with similar high-end offerings based on AMD's 7-series chipset, with the added benefit of an IGP and support for SLI / Hybrid SLI. Hopefully NVIDIA's partners can get these board out to market quickly, because we suspect many AMD fans have been waiting for a new AM2+, SLI-capable chipset to take a new Phenom for a spin alongside a couple of GeForce cards.
Street prices for the boards we tested aren't available just yet, but expect to pay $200 - $250+ for enthusiast class nForce 780a SLI-based products like the ones we've shown you here. nForce 750a SLI-based boards should settle in below the $200 mark when they arrive, with the nForce 730a and 720a filling the more affordable price points below.