Articles: Mainboards

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PCB Design and Functionality

We can once again state that it is a very thoroughly designed mainboard without any evident problems. It has already become a very good tradition, even though we did manage to find a few things to be pointed out.

Let’s start our discussion of EVGA nForce 750i SLI FTW from the top of its PCB. The processor voltage regulator components and the power connectors are all placed very reasonably, however, the chipset cooler deserves a separate mention.

It is a real cooling system, and not just a set of heatsinks. Heatpipes tie all heatsinks together into a single complex. You can clearly see the heatpipe between the main heatsink and the additional MOSFET heatsink, but if you look underneath the South Bridge heatsink, you will also notice the ends of heatpipes there:

The main heat dissipating function is performed by the central trapezoid heatsink. Two other heatsinks do not contribute that much. Chipset South Bridge heatsink also doesn’t help much, because it has small heat dissipating surface area. As for the MOSFET heatsink, the heatpipe leading to it originates from the middle of the central heatsink, and not from its base. In other words, only that little heat that will not be dissipated right away and will rise by thin plates of the central heatsink array gets transferred to the additional heatsink.

That is why the central heatsink is equipped with an active cooler. It covers not only the hot North Bridge but also a pretty hot Nvidia nForce 200 bridge chip responsible for PCI Express 2.0 support.

The fan rotation speed is controlled automatically, but even at the slowest speed when the board is working in nominal mode, it is still the noisiest system component. It is a drawback for contemporary mainboards, and a pretty serious one.

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