XFX nForce 780i SLI Motherboard ReviewWed, Dec 19, 2007 - 12:00 AM
The XFX 780i SLI Motherboard
With the major hardware change being just the addition of the nForce 200 chip the 780i SLI motherboard looks just like the older 680i SLI as not much has changed.
Some of the changes that can be seen on the layout include a new CPU thermal diode LED, located next to the CPU fan pins, that turns red when abnormal CPU heat is detected. The case power/reset/LED pins have been moved to the bottom-right based on feedback from the press and users as it was a pain to get to in a case. All of the PCI Express connectors are now NVIDIA green to enhance the overall aesthetics of the platform. A newer, advanced heat-pipe design continues the removable fan tradition that allows users to use the board in quieter environments, while an optional fan is included for those wanting to overclock. The heat sink is larger also due to the fact it now has to cover three chipsets and dissapate the heat from the extra chip.
If you look close you will also notice the 4-pin molex power connector is no longer present by the four SATA ports on the 780i SLI motherboard. On the 680i SLI motherboard, the 4-pin molex connector delivers additional power to pins of the PCIe connector. This is not required on most enthusiast motherboards including the 780i since there are no GPUs available today that require extra power delivered through the PCIe connectors. NVIDIA removed it from the board as if a GPU needs extra power it will now have additional 6-pin or 8-pin PCI Express power connectors on the video card.
With the boards turned over you can see a few changes here and there, but mostly in the areas where the new nForce 200 chip is located.
All 780i SLI motherboards come with an optional chipset fan that can be used to better cool the chipsets. The fan is installed on the angled side of the chipset heatsink by just matching up the pins on the fan to the slits on the heatsink seen above.
Once the fan is lined up there is a clip on top that locks it into place. This design is easier to use than the optional fan on the 680i SLI as the small screws were enough to drive you crazy on that one. The 0.19 Amp fan on our system was a Protechnic Magic and had the part number MGT5012XF-A10.
All this to help keep the chipsets nice and cool!