Today, NVIDIA launched a new line of chipsets for Socket 775, the nForce 600i:
- nForce 680i SLI
- nForce 650i SLI
- nForce 650i Ultra
Compared to the nForce 500, the main difference is the evolution of the SPP to have a better increase in FSBs. NVIDIA now officially supports FSB1333 with the 680i and after overclocking the frequency can reach up to 500 MHz (FSB2000). This frequency is comparable to the P965 Express and the first tests
of our colleagues from matbe.com confirms this point. The 650i only officially supports FSB1066 but it will probably reach much higher frequencies than the nForce 4 and 5 that were restricted to 350 MHz FSB after overclocking.
If the three versions are exclusively compatible with DDR2 memory, the 680i is capable of supporting DDR2-1200 additionally to DDR2-800. This isn't of course the official specification at JEDEC. The main difference is actually the number of PCI Express slots. The 680i has 46 lanes including 18 supported by the SPP (northbridge). The later can support two x16 slots, one x8 (for a third graphic card) and six 1x. If SLI is activated, the 650i SLI divides the connectivity into two x8 slots (this operation isn't possible with the Ultra version).
The main differences of the MCP are at the network and storage level. The 680i has 2 Gigabits ports, instead of 1 for the 650i and is capable of supporting up to 6 SATA and 2 PATA peripherals, instead of 4 and 4 for the 650i. For all chipsets, hard drives can be configured as RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5. Interesting point, the 680i is the only one to have TCP/IP acceleration that unloads the CPU during heavy exchanges. For all of them too, audio management is left to an external codec like HD Audio.
Assuredly, the 680i will be the best choice for performance fanatics as it is the only one to combine correct increase in FSB and SLI (with the GeForce 8800 it will provide much higher performances than any other solution). eVGA will be the first to launch a motherboard and the reason is that they have designed the board for NVIDIA (bios included). Other manufacturer will have to wait a little bit more. For example, ASUSTeK indicates that these cards will be available at the end of the month. To finish, we have to hope that NVIDIA is very pessimist for the nForce 6 boards' prices: 250 to300 € with nForce 680i SLI, 150 to 200 € with nForce 650i SLI and 100-150 € with nForce 650i Ultra.