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Old October 17, 2008, 09:17 AM
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3oh6 3oh6 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Edmonton, AB
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Default Package & Layout Flyover



We'll start with a quick look at the package, the accessories, and then on to the board. This will be brief like a 30 second porn clip on a pic site so pay attention or you will miss the money shot.

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There really isn't much to say, and I won't go into a lengthy diagnosis of the package or its contents, I think the photos speak for themselves. The one thing worth mentioning is that the plastic clam shell the board is protected in does an excellent job of keeping the board safe during transport. We have all seen an increase of high end motherboards coming in this type of package and I really like EVGA doing the same with this board. Here is a complete list of the accessory package that comes with this board:
  • 1x Round Sleeve IDE
  • 1x Round Sleeve floppy
  • 6x Clipped SATA
  • 3x 4-pin molex to double SATA 5-pin power
  • 1x 4 port USB PCI expansion bracket
  • 1x Single Firewire 6-pin PCI expansion bracket
  • 1x Single serial port PCI expansion bracket
  • 1x Tab-less rear I/O panel
  • 1x Flexible SLI bridge
  • 1x Solid Tri-SLI bridge
The accessory package is a pretty standard selection of hardware with the nice addition of solid clipped end SATA cables in none other than black. The rear I/O panel is also of a newer design school with no tabs, just a cushioned backing to provide a snug fit without the hassle. Alright, time to see what exactly we are working with here. The board is very close to the reference 790i Ultra design but obviously the CPU PWM area is a good bit different so we'll start there.

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As stated, the overall layout and component layout is exactly the same as the 790i Ultra reference design with the addition of solid capacitors throughout. As the saying goes, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Moving to the CPU socket area, this all changes. Instead of multiple banks of through hole capacitors, chokes, and surface mount MOSFETs; we are greeted with a chorus line of surface mount capacitors in front of dual 4 phase ferrite core Cooper Bussmann multi-phase inductors. The CPL-4-50 inductors don't have a heat sink on them as they are capable of operation up to 125C.

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Behind these inductors are the Volterra VT1165SF CSP chips which in combination with the CPL-4-50 inductors create an 8 phase system capable of up to 240A (30A x 8 phases), which can be seen in the above photos with the heat pipe assembly removed. These components are on many newer high end GPUs and motherboards as well and have a history of supplying stable clean power with a small footprint with minimal heat dump. The last photo is an interesting little switch just north of the CPU socket and when inquired about, was described as a change in the PWM for older P4s by EVGA. For our Core 2 use, this should be left to the "1" position as shown above.

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Moving away from the CPU socket, we find the DIMM slots surrounded by more solid electrolytic capacitors and familiar locations of the 24-Pin, IDE, and 4 of the onboard NVIDIA MCP SATA connectors. Going down to "MCP Corner" there is the floppy connector, LED readout, a fan header, 2 more SATA connectors at a 90 angle as well as the front panel connectors and a number of onboard headers. The low profile MCP heat sink hangs out in the background trying to stay out of the way of the monster video cards that are about to sit on its face. The interesting thing about the 90 SATA connectors is that they use a different casing from that of a normal SATA connector. With most cables, this isn't a problem. Unfortunately with the included cables from EVGA, they don't fit. The EVGA supplied cables are a nice quality SATA cable with a clip and there is no cut-out for the clip in the 90 casing as highlighted in the third photo above where the 90 connector is on top with a perfectly rectangle casing around the actual connector. Just the two 90 connectors are problematic, the other four SATA connectors higher up on the board work just fine with the supplied cables.

The last photo in this set outlines the bottom edge of the board including the fancy new power and reset buttons that feature LED centers. I'm not sure about the colors though...they don't seem to match the rest of the color scheme, but I failed interior design in high-school so what the hell do I know anyway.

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Overall, the lower portion of the board is well laid out and like mentioned, for 790i Ultra owners, it will look very familiar. The slot spacing is capable of housing 3 dual slot coolers but they are sitting on top of each other and require some decent airflow from the back of the cards to make it work. The two last photos above are simply of the backside of the motherboard and the rear I/O panel. There isn't much to discuss but I will mention that surface mount capacitors are again present on the backside of the motherboard right behind the CPU socket. These capacitors do run a risk of getting crushed by back plates in some setups. This will be discussed a little bit more in the cooling section, which is next on the schedule.

Last edited by 3oh6; October 19, 2008 at 12:15 PM.
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