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ECS PN2 SLI2+ nVIDIA nForce 680i SLi Motherboard Review

ECS PN2 SLI2+ nVIDIA nForce 680i SLi Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Let's be frank. The question isn't whether AMD or Intel are leading the charge, it's nVIDIA. For the last couple of years anyway, the graphics boys in Santa Carla have shown the PC world how to make a good chipset and a feature packed motherboard.
 89% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ECS Feb 28 2007   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ECS PN2 SLI2+

Motherboard Benchmarks: Quake4 / Conclusions

ID Software Quake 4 1.3

Source: id Software

Quake 4 is the latest shooter from ID and is based on the Doom 3 engine. Tweaked to for more eye candy, Quake 4 promises to be tougher on videocards and systems than its predecessor was. Quake 4 also does not have a 60 fps limiter like Doom 3, with the Ultra setting, graphic textures can surpass the 500MB mark! Each test is run three times and with the third run being recorded.

PCSTATS Benchmark ReportID Software Quake 4 1.3
LQ 640x480: FPS Ranking
ASRock AM2V890-VSTA (K8T890 200/800 A64 5000+) 154.4
Albatron KM51PV-AM2 (GF6150 200/800 A64 5000+) 152.9
MSI K9N SLI Platinum (NF 570 SLI 200/800 A64 5000+) 150.5
Asus M2-CROSSHAIR (NF 590 SLI 200/800 A64 5000+) 146.4
Foxconn 975X7AA-8EKRS2H (975X 200/667 PD 840) 127.3
MSI P4N Diamond (NF4 SLI 200/800 PD 840) 150.5
Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe (P965 200/800 PD 840) 113.8
Asus P5N32-SLI Premium (NF 590 SLI 200/800 Core 2 Duo GeForce 7800GTX Single) 203.5
Asus P5N32-SLI Premium (NF 590 SLI 200/800 Core 2 Duo GeForce 7800GTX SLI) 198.7
Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H (975X 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 202.5
MSI 975X Platinum (975X 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 202.8
Asus P5B (P965 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 191.4
Biostar TForce P965 Deluxe (P965 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 202.8
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (P965 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 202.6
Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H (P965 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 202.4
MSI P965 Platinum (P965 200/800 Core 2 Duo) 202.1
ECS PN2 SLI2+ (NF 680i SLI 200/800 Core 2 Duo GeForce 7800GTX Single) 203.7
ECS PN2 SLI2+ (NF 680i SLI 200/800 Core 2 Duo GeForce 7800GTX SLI) 200.6

In the last benchmark of the day, the ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard puts on a very good show in Quake 4. As you can see the motherboard is very fast, both workstation and gaming benchmarks.

nVidia does it again with the 680i SLI

Many of the technological innovations we've seen these last few years have been targeted towards enthusiasts and gamers. The latter especially so for nVIDIA. From SLI to Serial ATA II, Gigabit networking or even dual channel memory, many innovative technologies have been part of nVidia chipsets.

Intel is usually the undisputed leader when it comes to chipsets for its' processors, but nVIDIA is mounting a true challenge on that historical precedent. Heck, nVidia's nForce 680i SLI chipset walks circles around the Intel 975X Express in terms of features. When it comes to performance, the two are very close in terms of performance. We were kind of expecting to see nVIDIA trumps Intel by a wide margin, but this is only the case where SLI comes into play, or with respect to overclockability.

nVIDIA's newest motherboard chipset is the nForce 680i SLI and boy it certainly comes loaded! The ECS PN2 SLI2+ is one of those "Designed by nVIDIA" motherboards, and it is very enthusiast friendly. Standard features include a 7.1 channel High Definition Azalia audio codec, dual Gigabit network cards, IEEE 1394a and six Serial ATA II slots. There's plenty of expansion space with two 32 bit PCI slots, three PCI Express x16 (two physical, one PCI Express x8 slot internally) and two PCI Express x1 slots. A Port 80 card, plenty of silent passive heatsinks, and a fairly expansive list of features round out the board for performance users. Some of the port placements on this board are just odd, and the lack of a rear I/O eSATA port is a thorn in our side. Brackets account for a couple positives, and the abundance of USB2.0 jacks is always a bonus.

The ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard handled well in the benchmarks. It battled out for top spot along with virtually every other Core 2 Duo motherboard in there. SiSoft Sandra did report lower than expected memory bandwidth, which was the one odd duck. As we showed you, the PN2 SLI2+ motherboard was very strong in the gaming tests, particularly so when SLI is enabled because both Geforce 7800GTX videocards received the full 16 PCI Express lanes.

Overclocking was where the ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard and its nForce 680i SLI chipset really shined. With a strong BIOS, the ECS PN2 SLI2+ was able to hit an awesome speed of 450 MHz FSB! That is the fastest PCSTATS has ever been able to push the Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 processor! This seems to be the norm for all nVIDIA nForce 680i SLI motherboards, so from a computer enthusiasts' perspective there really aren't any competitors to nVidia chipsets anymore. VIA is stalled, SIS is not in the same league, and Intel skimps on features like the Tax man counts change.

With a retail price of $271 CDN ($230 US, £116 GBP), the ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard is a premium offering, but compared to some other nVIDIA nForce 680i based platforms this is quite competitive. Bottom line, if you're seeking a fully featured Intel motherboard for a dual-core Core 2 Duo or quad-core Core 2 Quad processor, look no further than the ECS PN2 SLI2+!

PCSTATS Recommended Product Award

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Contents of Article: ECS PN2 SLI2+
 Pg 1.  ECS PN2 SLI2+ nVIDIA nForce 680i SLi Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  PCIe SLI Graphics and More
 Pg 3.  ECS PN2 SLI2+ Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 4.  The nVIDIA nForce 680i SLI Intel Edition chipset
 Pg 5.  Overclocking an nForce 680i SLI Motherboard
 Pg 6.  Inside the PN2 SLI+ BIOS / Test Specs
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2004
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SuperPi, PCMark05
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3
 Pg 12.  — Motherboard Benchmarks: Quake4 / Conclusions

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