XFX is another graphics card manufacturer taking advantage of Nvidia's pre-designed 6-series motherboards, as it has brought out its own version of Nvidia's nForce 680i SLI motherboard. If you've not been keeping up with the times, the nForce 680i SLI chispet is Nvidia's current flagship product that offers a pair of "full" PCI-Express x16 lanes as well as an x8 for "future physics applications", or, anything else you decide to drop into it.
Admittedly, there is very difference between this XFX board, the Inno3D we reviewed back in February and the EVGA nForce 680i SLI that launched last November, but the intended genius is in the detail, right? Since most graphics cards are virtually identical apart from the package, box art and price can the same apply to motherboards? Surely XFX must have a unique angle to offer some incentive to purchase it over a competitor's nForce 680i SLI solution?
XFX nForce 680i SLI Features
Support for Intel Core 2 Quad, Duo, Pentium 4 EE, and Pentium D and Pentium 4 processors, as well as 1333MHz Front Side Bus CPUs;
Nvidia nForce 680i SLI SPP/MCP;
Support for up to 8GB dual channel DDR2 533/667/800MHz with support for EPP memory at up to 1200MHz;
Three PCI-Express x16 slots, (electrically two x16, one x8);
Two PCI-Express x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots;
Ten USB 2.0 ports;
Six SATA 3Gbps ports with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD with NCQ;
Two Marvell 88E1118 Gigabit Ethernet LAN controllers;
IEEE 1394a Firewire support for two ports;
Realtek ALC885 8-channel HD audio with jack sensing and S/PDIF.
XFX quick install guide and manual;
Four USB 2.0 ports PCI bracket;
One IEEE1394a 6-pin Firewire port PCI bracket;
Six black SATA cables;
One single ended, black rounded floppy cable;
One black rounded IDE cable;
Metal I/O Shield;
Three Molex to six SATA power plugs with 90 degree connectors.
The board comes in its own little XFX branded box which is pretty cool, and even the manuals get the special treatment with their own envelope. Everything is easy to get out of the box (and back in again) even though there's quite a lot in it.
Everything is given the black treatment, which should suit most people, and even the complete complement of six SATA cables get little black dust caps for the ends (Awww - Ed.). The three six SATA power adapters have 90 degree ends to them, and are keyed so as the cables angle upwards towards the PSU (assuming you have a standard ATX case with PSU in the top). This is a nice touch, and the one Molex to two SATA plugs keeps the needed Molex connectors to a minimum.
There are four USB 2.0 ports provided from a PCI bracket and four available through pin-outs on-board. It is also all kept on a single PCI bracket to save space. XFX also provided a 6-pin Firewire pin out on a separate PCI bracket, but they could have given it a serial port or extra S/PDIF ports (also available via board pin-outs) for company.
In all it's a good package, with a consistent colour scheme and complete complement of cables that will do the job it's intended for.