EVGA nForce 790i Ultra SLI Motherboard and Chipset Review
Introduction and 790i Features
Over the years chipset launches have gone from an exciting part of a great new platform launch to side bars on the releases of new processors and graphics cards. Chipset technology was largely stagnate when NVIDIA's dominance started to take place in the AMD world and even their marketing teams couldn't keep the magic and excitement of chipsets alive for long. We were forced to endure the nForce 3, nForce 4, nForce 500 and nForce 600 series and the most recent addition the nForce 780i. All of them were decent chipsets in their own right though you could probably count the TRUE advancements of each from generation to generation on one hand.
This chipset launch is really nothing different though NVIDIA is catching up with technologies that Intel has offered since May of last year. The NVIDIA nForce 790 chipsets brings support for the latest Intel processors, DDR3 memory and native PCI Express 2.0.
The NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI Ultra Chipset
The new flagship chipset for NVIDIA's the Intel platform line of products is the nForce 790i Ultra SLI and is the chipset that will be reviewing today. This product is a two chip design not a single chip like we will see on the upcoming nForce 780a and thus we are actually getting a new north bridge and a very familiar south bridge.
Also new with the nForce 790i Ultra SLI chipset is the inclusion of the native DDR3 memory controller. Intel's own chipsets have offered DDR3 support since May of last year and this is NVIDIA's first attempt at one so we'll have to see how performance looks.
The HyperTransport connection is used merely for communications with the south bridge.
The south bridge should look awfully familiar to you as it has been used by NVIDIA since the days of the nForce 500 series and still includes the same features.
Oh, and the nForce 790i SLI Chipset...
There is another chipset launching today as well that goes by the moniker 790i SLI. The block diagram below clearly shows that the product is basically identical:
It's really not that big of a deal as this chipset should be able to run the memory at that speed but I honestly see no need for this being two separate products.