XFX N780-ISH9 (NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI)
||NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI
||LGA775 Pentium 4 FSB 1066/800/533 MHz
Celeron Conroe / Prescott FSB 800/533 MHz
Dual-Core Pentium4 Smithfield/Presler
Yorkfield, Wolfdale FSB 1333/1066/800 MHz
Quad-Core Kentsfield, Dual-Core Conroe/Allendale
6x SerialATA II (RAID)
||High Definition Audio
10 USB 2.0
2x Gigabit Ethernet LAN
We have already tested a couple of motherboards based on NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI, but frankly they have not produced a distinct and certain impression. There are no issues with the main features: at the expansion options, the boards match the previous products based on the nForce 680i SLI chipset, and in terms of support for SLI they surpass them. In particular, all the boards based on nForce 780i SLI support the 3-way SLI, i.e. allow installing three NVIDIA video cards into the system and integrate their computing resources.
Only with the overclocking the situation is uncertain. For instance, the Gigabyte board easily ran at frequencies over 500 MHz, and the ASUS board hardly overcame the FSB = 400 MHz. What is wrong? To some extent, the answer could be produced through the test of a motherboard of NVIDIA's reference design, i.e. motherboard based on the nForce 780i SLI chipset developed by engineers at NVIDIA in which all the capabilities of this chipset are revealed. Such motherboards are shipped ready-made to a great number of manufacturers (thus saving their engineering and financial resources) who have only got to draw a box, put cables inside, write a user's manual, and invent the price. One of such motherboards is XFX N780-ISH9 which we are reviewing today.
In fact, we shouldn't think that the reference design is a synonym of high quality. For instance, reference motherboards built on the nForce 680i SLI chipset do not operate with Intel's latest generation CPUs.
XFX N780-ISH9 Specifications
||- Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott (2M)/Gallatin/CedarMill) with the bus speeds 1066/800/533 MHz
- Dual-core Intel Pentium D/EE (Smithfield/Presler) with the bus speeds 800/1066 MHz
- Intel Celeron-D (Conroe-L, Prescott) with the bus speeds 800/533 MHz
- Support for Intel Core 2 Duo/Quad (Kentsfield (4 cores), Conroe/Allendale (2 cores)) with the bus speeds 1333/1066/800 MHz
- Support for Intel Yorkfield, Wolfdale with the bus speeds 1333/1066/800 MHz
- Socket LGA775
- Support for HyperThreading
||- North bridge nForce 780i SLI SPP
- South bridge nForce 570i SLI MCP
- PCI Express v2.0 nForce 200 bridge
- Interbridge communication: HyperTransport bus (1 GHz)
||- Four 240-pin slots for DDR-II SDRAM DIMM
- Maximum memory capacity 8 GB
- Dual-channel memory access
- Supported memory - DDR2 400/533/667/800/1066/1200 (EPP)
- Onboard power indicators
||- Three PCI Express x16 (2Ñ… 16 v2.0 + 1Ñ… 16 v1.0) slots
||- Two 32-bit PCI Bus Master slots
- One PCI Express x1 slots
- Ten USB 2.0 ports ( 6 integrated + 4 additional)
- Two IEEE1394 ports (Firewire; 1 integrated + 1 additional)
- Integrated High Definition Audio
- Two Gigabit Ethernet LAN controllers
||- FSB adjustable within 100 to 625 MHz; multiplier adjustable;
- Adjustable voltages on the CPU, memory, HT bus, FSB, and the chipset (nb, sb, sb aux).
||- 1 link for UltraDMA133/100/66/33 Bus Master IDE (with support for up to 2 ATAPI devices & RAID 0, 1);
- Support for SerialATA II (6 links - nForce 570i SLI, with support for RAID 0,1,5, 0+1, and JBOD);
- Support for LS-120 / ZIP / ATAPI CD-ROM
||- 8 Mbit Flash ROM
- Award Phoenix BIOS with support for Enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, PnP Features, and Trend Chip Away Virus
||- One port for FDD, ports for PS/2 mouse and keyboard
- Power-on, reset buttons
- 7-stage POST indicator
- STR (Suspend to RAM)
- SPDIF Out
||- Wake-up on modem, mouse, keyboard, LAN, timer, and USB
- 24-pin ATX (ATX-PW) power connector
- Additional 8-pin power connector
||- Monitoring the temperatures of the CPU, system, north bridge, monitoring of voltages, determination of rotational speed of the five fans
- Dynamic Fan Control
||- ATX form factor, 244 mm x 305 mm (9.63" x 12")
All is packaged in a rather impressive box of stylish design:
Inside, the user can find two more boxes - one with the package bundle and one with the motherboard:
- Software & drivers CD;
- User's Manual in English + brief usage guide;
- a warning plate;
- ATA-133 and FDD cables;
- six SerialATA cables + three power adapters (6 connectors);
- a cap for the rear panel of the housing;
- a plate for four USB 2.0 ports;
- a plate for one Firewire port;
- SLI connector, 3-way SLI connector;
- additional fan.
We are interested in the board's package bundle most of all because that is the only thing that XFX put its hand on. And we must admit we found not a single issue about the box contents. Let's start with the cables. Apart from the mandatory PATA and FDD cables ("rounded"), the board comes bundled with six SerialATA cables. On the other hand, there are six SATA ports onboard. There are three adapters in the box, each having two connectors. In the end, we can plug in six SATA devices without looking at the PSU: whether it offers matching connectors or not.
The board is bundled with two brackets: one for four USB 2.0 ports, the other one for a Firewire port. Again, we can see that the brackets for additional ports and the number of ports wired right on the board match.
Besides, the box contains one bridge for SLI, one more bridge for 3-way SLI, and an additional fan.
All the three components are standard. Even this fan can be found on any other reference board since it is an item of a standard cooling system developed at NVIDIA.
The user's guide stands out with deep coverage and quality of composition.
We also found nothing to complain about the brief user's guide and the contents of the CD. The only nonstandard item is the plate which can be hung on the door handle, with a the "do not disturb" label asking you not to trouble the gamer.
Summing it up, we can reward the top mark to XFX for the package bundle since inside the box there is absolutely everything needed to install and set up the motherboard. In other words, the buyer will not have to rush to the shop once again to buy a cheap adapter.
||CPU & Memory: