A straight black PCB may sit under the motherboard components, but the Foxconn N68S7AA features a large range of colours to help the end user know what's what. While some people enjoy a total theme, others benefit from the clear indication of each individual port.

The memory ports are alternately coloured black and blue according to memory channel and are not only a decent distance from the CPU socket, but are also sufficiently high enough not to interfere with the top PCI-Express x16 graphics card.

The CPU socket is generally clear, but it is quite close to the top of the motherboard. The northbridge heatsink is slightly closer to the socket than the memory slots and power regulation heatsinks -- this could cause problems if you have a large, low slung heatsink or if your PSU sits right above the motherboard, but in most cases it shouldn't cause concern.


Foxconn N68S7AA nForce 680i SLI Board Layout

Foxconn N68S7AA nForce 680i SLI Board Layout
Both the northbridge and southbridge heatsinks include 40mm fans to keep them cool, and the motherboard forgoes the increasing popularity of heatpipes strewn across the board. While heatpipes are silent, they don't necessarily work as well as they should in all situations. If you're water cooling, for example, there's very little airflow going over the heatpipes, which can cause heat to build up, meaning you have to use an additional fan anyway. So overall, this isn't that much of a loss.

Foxconn goes for a simpler, more consistent solution that works, especially since the nForce 680i SLI chipset naturally runs extremely hot. The northbridge in particular looks pretty damn cool and almost car engine-esque in its design. Unfortunately, unlike a deep and sensual V8 rumble, these equate to listening to a 2-stroke lawnmower moped that is struggling uphill.

Another heatsink has been placed over the area of densely packed power regulation components to keep them cool. One phase of the four placed above the CPU socket is left without extra cooling and it dissipates heat into the motherboard PCB instead. It would have been better to cool all these components in order to promote better overclocking and keep as much heat as possible out of the PCB, but given the fact the CPU socket is rather high and the space available is limited, this seems an impossible task.

The entire board is kitted out with solid aluminium capacitors. These capacitors feature an “organic semi-conductive electrolyte” that increases the life and power delivery to the components, and prolongs the life of the board since the capacitors are often the first things to die.
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