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ASUS P5N-T Deluxe nVidia nForce 780i SLI Motherboard Review

ASUS P5N-T Deluxe nVidia nForce 780i SLI Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: ASUS P5N-T Deluxe motherboard, one of Asus' AI Lifestyle motherboards which comfortably straddles the line between mid-range and high-end.
 75% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Asus Mar 05 2008   Julian Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Asus P5N-T Deluxe

nVIDIA nForce 780i Chipset

nForce 680i and nForce 780i, what's the difference?

The short answer is, not much. The nVidia nForce 780i chipset is largely similar to the nForce 680i chipset that preceded it - aside from the addition of three-way SLI, official support for 45nm Intel processors and certification with nVidia's Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA) specification, most of the architecture and feature set is identical. The nForce 780i northbridge is paired up with the nForce 200, and for a southbridge relies upon the nForce 570 SLI.

The nForce 200 is a PCI Express 2.0 controller that handles two of the PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots provided by the 780i chipset on the P5N-T Deluxe. The controller lets the two PCI Express x16 slots route information directly to one other at 16GB/s without passing through the SPP. The third PCI Express x16 slot (the black one) is actually handled by the southbridge, so it isn't technically PCI Express 2.0 at all. It's also comparatively slow - it has to pass through the southbridge to the northbridge, and then to the nForce 200, all of which cut down on its available bandwidth.

The nVidia 780i's southbridge also hasn't changed much - it's the exact same 570 SLI MCP that was used in the nVidia 680i chipset, as well as the nForce 590i and 570 before that. Aside from the aforementioned PCI Express x16 slot, the 570 SLI MCP controls the gigabit lan, 7.1 channel High Definition Intel Azalia audio controller, USB 2.0, SATA hard drives and PCI expansion slot on the P5N-T Deluxe.

Unlike the DDR3-exclusive nVidia nForce 790i chipset, the nVidia 780i can use more common DDR2 memory. While DDR2 can't quite match up with the higher frequencies found in its successor, its lower latency means that the performance gap between the two types of memory isn't all that large.

nVidia nForce 700-Series Feature Breakdown
nVidia nForce 780i SLI
CPU Socket 775
nVida SLI Support Yes, (x16/x16)
nVidia FirstPacket Yes
nVidia DualNet Yes
Native Gigabit Ethernet 2
Teaming Yes
TCP/IP Acceleration Yes
nVidia MediaShield Storage Yes
SATA/IDE HDD 6/1
SATA Speed 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
nVidia nTune Utility Yes
PCI Express Lanes 32 lanes of PCI Express 2.0
USB Ports 10
PCI Slots 5
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia)

nForce 780i SLI Assorted Technologies

nVIDIA's integrated audio solution supports Intel's High Definition Audio Azalia standard. With Serial ATA going the way it is, there is only one IDE channels integrated. To balance out storage requirements, the number of Serial ATA II (3Gbps) ports has been set at six. Continuing on the hard drive front, nVIDIA's Serial ATA II channels adhere to the Serial ATA 2.0 spec and support RAID mode 0, 1, 0+1 and 5.

nVIDIA DualNet technology basically gives the user greater control over network processes. All high end nVIDIA chipsets by default support two Gigabit connections. Users can combine the two connections for more bandwidth, and there is hardware TCP/IP Acceleration which lowers CPU utilization. Another very cool feature is nVIDIA's FirstPacket Technology which allows you to prioritize network traffic. So for example, if you are a gamer that tends to do multiple things while you're online, you can prioritize your game traffic so that ping times are not affected by the other processes going on in the background.

On the memory front, the nVidia nforce 780i SLI chipset supports Enhanced Performance Profiles or EPP which was introduced in previous generations. This is an open memory standard put forth by Corsair and nVIDIA which takes over where JEDEC's SPD leaves off. As the Enhanced Performance Profiles description implies, it adds performance profiles to the memory SPD in addition to the conservative compatibility settings already programmed in.

Finally, nVIDIA's nForce 780i SLI supports nTune which is arguably the best enthusiast software available. It allows users to control their systems and realistically with nTune, there is no longer a need to go into the BIOS to adjust settings. You can do everything from within Windows XP or Vista! Speaking of tuning, PCSTATS overclocking tests are next!

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Contents of Article: Asus P5N-T Deluxe
 Pg 1.  ASUS P5N-T Deluxe nVidia nForce 780i SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 3.  — nVIDIA nForce 780i Chipset
 Pg 4.  Overclocking with ASUS on the nForce 780i
 Pg 5.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007 Preview
 Pg 6.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark06, Quake 4, FEAR
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FEAR, Super Pi
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 10.  PCSTATS Maximum Motherboard Overclocking Chart & Conclusions

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