EVGA nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard Review - Cheaper 680i
The EVGA Motherboard
If you seen the board design on the nForce 680i SLI motherboard then the new 680i LT SLI motherboard is going to look very familiar. This is the latest in a series of "designed by NVIDIA" motherboards that are resold under the EVGA, and other, brands.
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Comparing the EVGA 680i LT SLI motherboard layout to the EVGA 680i SLI motherboard, you'll notice right away that this new board has a green PCB instead of a black one and some missing components that still have solder points under them.
The CPU socket area remains unchanged with plenty of room for CPU cooling and low-rise capacitors.
The four DIMM slots support DDR2-800 speeds in dual channel memory configurations; though you can fully expect the memory to overclock well beyond that with some manual tweaking. Between the DIMMs and the four pin Molex power connector you'll notice that NVIDIA has placed the case light and button connections here; this is a really bad place for them in my opinion as the area is already cluttered with an IDE cable, ATX power cable DIMMs and possibly SATA cables! Please move it back to the bottom where it belongs.
Here is a big change in the motherboard design -- no longer do you get the passive heat pipe cooling that the 680i SLI motherboard had. Instead, users of the 680i LT SLI motherboard will deal with two separate heatsinks and fans for active chipset cooling. I have read several other reviews that mentioned they were disappointed by this change, and in some regards I am as well. However, the use of heat pipes in motherboard cooling has been a variable in overclocking that in some boards has been an issue. Yes you do have to deal with the possibility of fan failure now and noise, but in mind it makes no difference.
The expansion configuration on the nForce 680i LT SLI motherboard looks just like it did on the 680i SLI, but without that third PCIe x16 slot. Both of the x16 PCIe slots shown though do support full x16 PCIe bandwidth to accommodate full speed SLI as we would require now for an enthusiast platform solution.
The bottom right hand corner of the motherboard continues with the shifts that NVIDIA made back in their first 680i SLI motherboard including the lack of standard facing SATA connections. NVIDIA has chosen to put the floppy and two SATA channels on the outside of the motherboard facing away from the PCB to allow for easier connections and better cable routing. The LT chipset board does NOT include the LED POST code indicator but features just about everything else.
Here you can see the entirety of the NVIDIA designed storage options for the 680i LT SLI motherboard: six total SATA connections on blue IDE channel and one black floppy connector.
External connectors on the LT motherboard look very similar as well, minus one riser that included the second Gigabit Ethernet port and two additional USB 2.0 ports. Support for 8-channel analog audio output and digital optical output is included as well as are a total of four USB 2.0 ports and a single Firewire connection.