So, XFX is in the motherboard business. That has proven to not be a bad thing. Their boards were solid during testing. They were easy to set up, the packaging was attractive (maybe that is not the best word, appealing might be better!) and the included bundle was suffice for setting up your system.
The layout of the boards is no fault of XFX. The designs, as mentioned, were both reference designs, so Nvidia is to blame for that. There is not really anything wrong with the layout of the 650i Ultra, but the 680i LT could use a little work. The space around the DIMM slots, where the i/o pin placement is among other things, is very crowded, and needs re-thunk ( I know, that is not a word, but it fits).
The performance is also right on par with that of other 600 series boards with other name branding. I personally love working with the 600 series of boards, because they are easy to set up, easy to use, and have great performance to boot.
Overclocking was great on both boards when it came to default settings. Both boards were able to come close to the limit of our CPU. When it came to overclocking with a lower multiplier, they did not fair as well as some of the other 600 series boards we have had in house. That may not necessarily be an XFX problem though. Since it is reference design, one can only assume that our boards were just mediocre overclockers. There are certain to be XFX boards that will do better out there.
Pricing is pretty much going to be the deciding factor for people as they look at these boards. The XFX 650i Ultra board is right at $100, which is on par with other brands of the 650i Ultra boards. The XFX 680i LT board is running right at $170-$190, depending on the retailer. This is also right in line with other offerings of the same board, just with a different name on the sticker that is on the board. The bundles of both boards are also very similar to those being offered, so really, price is not a factor at this time. Your best bet is to find the best sale on a 600 series board that you can.
Legit Bottom Line:
XFX will be a welcome addition to the motherboard market. If they continue the tradition of great service and support that they have with their video cards to their motherboard line, there will be no doubt that they will succeed in this dog-eat-dog market. The XFX 650i Ultra and XFX 680i LT motherboards would be a great way to upgrade your box to the latest and greatest, and a great way to do it with a well known name!