ECS made a great choice by using the reference NVIDIA design for their 680 SLI motherboard and in return has brought to market a very solid board that has the support of NVIDIA when it’s similar to many of the 680i SLI motherboards, but is backed by the ECS Elitegroups tried and true customer support. The layout of the reference motherboard is not the best we have seen (remember the front panel connectors position), but it gets the job done.
Performance at default settings is in line with the 650i based and the Intel 975X based motherboards that we have reviewed in past months. There is not much that really separates those boards at all, so no matter what board and chipset you pick you can expect the scores to be within five percent of each other. The ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard did score well in our gaming tests, so the hard core gamer will want to take a good hard look at the PN2 SLI2+ motherboard when shopping for the base of your gaming system. Since the motherboard supports NVIDIA’s SLI technology it will give you an upgrade path that will easily support the recently released GeForce 8800 series of graphics cards like the budget friendly GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB graphics card.
The bundle that comes with the board is certainly “Extreme.” If there is one thing that ECS does well, it is giving you plenty of stuff in the box with your shiny new board. The board is a quality built board. The heatsink seems attached very well, and along with the heatpipe seems to do a good job cooling the chips on the board.
Our overclocking of the board brought mixed results, as we noted that the PN2 SLI2+ overclocked very well when using the default 9x CPU multiplier, but had very poor results when we switched to a lower multiplier. We were able to nearly match our highest ever overclock that we achieved on the 650i board from Asus at default settings, but fell short when the multiplier was lowered. The board just would not go any higher even though we added more voltage to the processor than ever before. We have seen other reviews of the board that say they were able to achieve much greater success on this board, so we are going to chalk up our experience with the low multiplier overclocking as being ‘unlucky’ as not every chipset is a killer overclocker. Overall, there is not much to complain about in the packaging and the performance of the board.
Price will be the only inhibitor to many that will look at this board. Currently, the board can be found at a few e-tailers for around the $245 mark, but is not listed at Newegg. This is a pretty hefty price tag for a board that really does not perform any better than its younger brother, the 650i. Is it worth it to have a few extra features and to be able to say that you have a 680i board? Maybe… Maybe not. That is for you to decide.
Legit Bottom Line:
ECS did a good thing with the release of the PN2 SLI2+ motherboard. It is a solid board that performs very well, and overclocks well when leaving the multiplier alone. If you are in the market for a new motherboard, and are looking for a 680i board, you will want to take a look at this one for sure.