ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe Review - nForce 780a SLI for Phenom Arrives
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The NVIDIA 700a Series of Chipsets
The Delays are Finally Over
The NVIDIA nForce 780a chipset has been on our radar for what seems like forever. Even though our first official discussion about it with NVIDIA came at CES in January we had actually heard about it several times prior to that. The chipset was always "right around the cornet" but as you can see the product went through several delays before its final release today in May. The reasons behind the delay are multi-faceted but they definitely have an effect on the overall chipset outlook in today's market.
Let's dive into the NVIDIA 700-series of chipsets for the AMD Phenom platform and see what they have to offer.
nForce 780a SLI Chipset
There are actually three chipsets launching today though just one has made its way to a retail product for launch, the enthusiast-labeled nForce 780a SLI.
The enthusiast level platform 780a chipset will utilize an nForce 200 chip, which we are familiar from on the nForce 780i SLI chipset for the Intel platform, to provide PCI Express 2.0 support in the form of two full x16 connections. To add support for 3-Way SLI there is a x16 PCIe 1.0 slot provided as well.
The other features on the 780a SLI chipset have been seen on NVIDIA chipsets for a while now: Gigabit Ethernet (though only support for 1 connection now), 12 USB 2.0 ports, Azalia audio, 6 SATA drives with RAID support, 3 x1 PCI Express 1.0 slots and up to five legacy PCI slots. ESA (Enthusiast System Architecture) support is also included in the 780a SLI chipset as is a completely new technology called Hybrid SLI. We'll cover the Hybrid story on the following pages.
nForce 750a SLI Chipset
The mid-range chipset debuting today is the nForce 750a SLI and the block diagram for it lies below.
nForce 730a Chipset
Finally we have the nForce 730a - a non-SLI chipset for budget systems.