So, our tests showed that ASUS P5N-D’s slogan "The best platform combining powerful performance with great energy efficiency" is simply not true. The board boasts average performance, has slightly higher power consumption in nominal mode than other boards on the same chipset, noticeably higher power consumption in overclocked mode than the same boards and much higher power consumption than Intel P35 Express based boards. Moreover, it is unstable during overclocking just like other Nvidia nForce 750i SLI based mainboards.
We could have stopped here. Why do we actually need Nvidia nForce 750i SLI based mainboards, if they have already announced Intel P45 Express and the mainboards based on it are already appearing everywhere? They also support PCI Express 2.0 and the preliminary reports claim excellent overclocking potential of these solutions. This is true and most users may actually forget about Nvidia chipsets for Intel processors. But there is a group of users out there who will not be able to give them up: the users of SLI (Scalable Link Interface) configurations.
Nvidia allows SLI support only on Nvidia based mainboards. I didn’t quite understand this decision at first, because this way they sort of limited the graphics cards sales. I am sure there would be a lot of people who could add another Nvidia graphics card onto their Intel or AMD based mainboard… Now that we have checked out three Nvidia nForce 750i SLI based mainboards, I can totally understand why it happened. The company is doing pretty well in the graphics card market, while the limited SLI support forces people to buy Nvidia based mainboards and helps their chipset division stay afloat.
I personally do not like multiple-VGA configurations. This extensive way of increasing performance stumbles upon a lot of issues. Instead of giving us one powerful graphics card, they encourage us to buy a few of them. Of course, it is primarily beneficial for the manufacturer. However, I am still upset that there are no decent Nvidia chipsets for Intel platform. For example, if Intel chipsets had some real competition to combat, they wouldn’t be selling for $70 a piece. And If Nvidia chipsets were really good there would be no need to restrict the SLI support.
There is one more thing: I am very concerned with the growing VGA power consumption, so it would be really interesting to check out Nvidia Hybrid SLI technology. Of course, not the part called GeForce Boost, when a weak graphics card is combined with a weak integrated graphics core and creates something half-weak. It is the second part, HybridPower, that is of greatest interest. It switches between a discrete card and an integrated chipset graphics core to save power and reduce noise. So far, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome yet, but the idea is really interesting.
Nvidia graphics cards supporting HybridPower technology have been out there for some time now. However, there are no Nvidia chipsets for Intel platform with Hybrid SLI support, no mainboards, though I wouldn’t mind getting one for my home system. I only wish the overclocking potential of Nvidia based mainboards improved. Besides, they have to lower their power consumption, too, otherwise the power savings from the graphics card will be simply eaten by the power-hungry mainboard. So, I sincerely wish Nvidia to start making truly reliable, stable and overclocking friendly chipsets, so that all enforced restrictions could be removed and we all lived happily ever after :).