Articles: Mainboards

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Testbed and Methods

I believe it is hard to surprise anyone with the performance of the Nvidia nForce 680i SLI based mainboard. We have already discussed these results in detail in our recently posted DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G Mainboard on ATI RD600 Chipset Review. Our results showed that ASUS Striker Extreme looked very impressive and outperformed the competitors based on other chipsets in most benchmarks. So, to get a complete picture all we need to do is compare the performance of this mainboard against the counterparts on the same core logic set. I am talking about Nvidia nForce 680i SLI based reference mainboards. For our today’s test session we picked a solution from ECS.

This mainboard, ECS PN2-SLI2+ (V1.0), is a dead ringer of the analogous products shipped by EVGA< BFG and other Nvidia partners.

However, it is not surprising at all. ECS belongs to official Nvidia’s partners who receive the mainboards directly from the chipset manufacturer. These mainboards are not only designed following the same reference. They also feature identical BIOS versions. Therefore, it is no surprise that the “Elitegroup” company name on the textolite is not painted but put as a sticker:

The only way the mainboard makers can make their solution stand out is by offering a different accessories bundle. ECS PN2-SLI2+ (V1.0) has a slightly different bundle alright:

Together with the reference nForce 680i SLI based mainboard ECS is shipping two unique items: a network cable and a plastic panel for the three-inch bay of the system case that can be used for additional USB and IEEE1394 ports.

Our test platforms were built using the following hardware components:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (LGA775, 2.93GHz, 4MB L2).
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS Striker Extreme (LGA775, NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI);
    • ECS PN2-SLI2+ (V1.0) (LGA775, NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI);
  • Memory: 2GB DDR2-800 SDRAM (Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5D) with 4-4-4-12-1T timings;
  • Graphics card: PowerColor X1900 XTX 512MB (PCI-E x16).
  • HDD: Western Digital WD1500AHFD (SATA150).
  • OS: Microsoft Windows XP SP2 with DirectX 9.0c.

The settings for both mainboards participating in our test session were set as identically as possible.


The obtained results are given in the table below:

As you see, ASUS Striker Extreme mainboard features better optimized BIOS than the reference board. As a result, it runs faster, which makes Striker Extreme a solid candidate for the title of the today’s fastest mainboard for Intel Core 2 processors.

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