nForce 680i Platform

At the top of the product line, and targeted at the "hard-core overclocker", is the nForce 680 SLI. It consists of two discrete chips, the 680i MCP and the 680i SPP. As we saw in the 590 chipset, one x16 PCIe slot is controlled by each chip. This provides dual x16 SLI slots for the 680i, similar to what was provided by the 590 chipset.


There is a significant new addition with 680i, however, in a third PCIe x16 slot between the x16 PCIe slots for SLI. This third slot is x8 PCIe instead of x16, but it can be used for a GPU on the 680i, with a new twist. This x8 slot is suitable for a physics processor combined with SLI.


If you prefer multiple monitors instead, you can even drive up to six monitors - two per card - with video cards in all 3 PCIe slots.


The nForce 680i provides a total of 46 PCIe lanes, with 18 lanes available on the 680i SPP and 28 lanes provided on the 680i MCP.

New features of the 680i are the addition of Extreme Overclocking capabilities and basic refinements of the features first introduced with the 590 SLI chipset. Features include:

Extreme Overclocking
  • FSB speeds of 1333 MHz can be achieved with a CPU that supports this specification.

  • DDR2 speeds of DDR2-1200 and beyond can be used to keep pace with overclocked system components. NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI MCPs support high-speed SLI-Ready memory
NVIDIA nTuneTM Utility allows adjustment of CPU and memory speeds without rebooting. There is also access to most BIOS settings from inside Windows.

True 2 x16 PCI Express SLI Support provided by two full-bandwidth, 16-lane PCI Express links.

Third PCIe Slot for Graphics Expansion

NVIDIA MediaShieldTM Storage includes RAID and SATA drive support.
  • Multiple Disk Setup Through a wizard-based interface, you can set up your drives for better data protection, faster disk access or maximum storage capacity. MediaShield automatically selects a RAID 0, 1, 0+1 or 5 configuration according to your needs. Advanced users can access RAID options directly.
  • DiskAlert System In the event of a disk failure, MediaShield users see an image that highlights which disk has failed to make it easier to identify, replace, and recover.
  • RAID Morphing MediaShield allows users to change their current RAID setup to another configuration in a one-step process called morphing. This eliminates the need to back up data and follow multiple steps in the process.
  • Bootable Multidisk Array MediaShield storage fully supports the use of a multi-disk array for loading the operating system at power-up.
  • Six SATA 3Gb/s Drives Combine up to six SATA drives into one volume for bigger, faster RAID. Drives can be configured as six RAID 0 (striped) drives for maximum throughput, or Single or Dual RAID 5 arrays. Hot plug and Native Command Queuing are supported.
Networking with Dual Gigabit Ethernet with Teaming allows the two connections to work together to provide up to twice the Ethernet bandwidth.

High Definition Audio (HDA) can deliver 192 kHz/32-bit quality for eight channels.

USB 2.0 plug-and-play interface that provides easy-to-use connectivity for up to 10 USB devices.

Features: nForce 600i Platform nForce 650i SLI & 650i Ultra
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  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, November 9, 2006 - link

    The other time you might need a fan on the northbrdige is when using water cooling or phase-change cooling. There is no air-flow spillover from water-cooling the CPU like there is with the usual fan heatsink on the CPU, so the auxillary fan might be needed in that situation. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, November 9, 2006 - link

    The 680i Does NOT require active notrthbridge cooling and is shipped as a passive heatpipe design. At 80nm it is much cooler than the 130nm nVdia chipsets. The fan you see in the pictures is an included accessory for massive overclocking, much like Asus includes auxillary fans in their top boards.

    In our testing we really did not find the stock fanless board much of a limitation in overclocking as the northbridge did not get particularly hot at any time. We installed the fan when we were trying to set the OC record and left it on for our 3 days at 2100 FSB. Since it is a clip and 3 screws to install we left it on.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    quote:

    The 680i Does NOT require active notrthbridge cooling and is shipped as a passive heatpipe design. At 80nm it is much cooler than the 130nm nVdia chipsets. The fan you see in the pictures is an included accessory for massive overclocking, much like Asus includes auxillary fans in their top boards.

    In our testing we really did not find the stock fanless board much of a limitation in overclocking as the northbridge did not get particularly hot at any time. We installed the fan when we were trying to set the OC record and left it on for our 3 days at 2100 FSB. Since it is a clip and 3 screws to install we left it on.


    That's funny. A cooler running one consuming more power. Must be the die size is much larger :D.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 9, 2006 - link

    ah okay thanks for that clarification! =) Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 9, 2006 - link

    NTune would be a lot more interesting if it wasn't so slow to respond to page changes, cumbersome, and a gigantic UI realestate hog.

    The same functionality in a slimmer, more configurable, and efficient UI design would be highly desireable.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 9, 2006 - link

    and actually, that goes for the entire NVidia display/GPU settings configuration panel. Reply
  • Khato - Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - link

    Each CPU is going to have a max FSB clock that it'll run stably at for the same reason that it has a max core logic frequency. The main difference here is that you have two possible barriers: signal degredation due to the analog buffers not being designed for such high speed and then whatever buffer logic there is in the CPU to clock cross from FSB to core not liking the higher frequency. I'm kinda leaning towards the buffer logic being the limiting factor, since I'd expect the manufacturing variance in the analog buffers to be minimal. That and the described 75MHz variance in top FSB frequency between various processors sounds reasonable for non-optimized logic. Reply
  • Staples - Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - link

    I have no need for SLI. Makes the board more expensive and an SLI setup is just not worth it to me. I was about to buy a P965 chipset but now I am interested in a the 650i Ultra. Will we see a review of this chipset in the future? Most of it seems to be exactly the same as the 680i however it does lack some features and I am afraid that those missing features may affect performance. As it stands now, do you expect the performance of the 650i Ultra to perform identical to the 680i SLI? Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - link

    quote:

    As it stands now, do you expect the performance of the 650i Ultra to perform identical to the 680i SLI?


    We do not, we do expect the 650i SLI to perform closely to it. We will have 650i boards in early December for review. :)
    Reply
  • Pirks - Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - link

    is this functionality where you can overclock your CPU and FSB and memory on the fly without rebooting Windows available only on nForce mobos? I'm a stability freak and I want to be able to raise and lower my clocks and voltage on the fly, similar to the way Macs do this - they spin their fans under load and become totally quiet when idle - I wanna do the same so that my rig is dead quiet when idle/doing word/inet/email/etc and becomes noisy and fast OCed beast when firing up Crysis or something. and I want this Mac-style WITHOUT rebooting Windows

    so do I have to buy nVidia mobo for that?

    600i series only or earlier nForce 4 or 5 series will do as well?

    I still can't dig what's up with these "dynamic BIOS updates that _require_ reboot to work" - so can you OC without rebooting or not? if yes - what are these BIOS options that nTune changes that DOES require reboot?

    could you happy nTune owners enlighten me on that stuff? thanks ;)
    Reply

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