NVIDIA Ultimate SLI Giveaway PC: The Components
As any gamer who has booted up a DirectX 10 game like Crysis, Gears of War PC, or Company of Heroes can tell you, the latest DX10 titles require serious graphics horsepower to game with all the eye candy turned on and still deliver high frame rates. Even the fastest GPU on the market right now, NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 Ultra, can be brought to its knees in these games at the highest graphics settings. So what’s a hardcore gamer to do when this happens?
The answer is simple: upgrade to a second graphics card for nearly double the performance.
One lucky FiringSquad reader is going to experience this firsthand this holiday season in our Ultimate SLI Giveaway sponsored by NVIDIA. The past several weeks we’ve been giving away lots of SLI goodies including motherboards and graphics cards, and later this week someone’s going to win our grand prize: a GeForce 8800 GTX SLI gaming rig! In this article we’re going to go over the specs of the system.
Before we discuss the components in the SLI system, we’d first like to thank all our sponsors who helped make this happen: CoolerMaster, EVGA, Microsoft, OCZ, PC Power and Cooling, Western Digital, XFX, and of course NVIDIA. These guys all contributed the system components inside today’s SLI PC and we’re sincerely grateful for their participation. Thanks a bunch guys!
Now let’s go over the components within the system…
XFX is well known for their lineup of high-end graphics cards for enthusiasts. Their “XXX” and “Extreme” line of GPUs combine tricked-out black PCBs and neon green DVIs with factory overclocking, delivering an extra boost in performance. XFX also backs their cards up with 24/7 toll-free phone support and the graphics industry’s most comprehensive double lifetime warranty program, providing lifetime warranty support to the original card owner as well as the second owner.
But did you also know XFX makes motherboards? This is a recent development for XFX that started with the nForce 590 SLI chipset and really took off with the debut of the nForce 680i platform.
The motherboard we’re using in the SLI giveaway rig is XFX’s nForce 680i SLI motherboard. This motherboard supports 1333MHz FSB operation, 3-Way SLI, and quad-core CPUs. The motherboard is based on NVIDIA’s reference board design for the nForce 680i SLI chipset, sporting dual x16 PCI Express graphics slots, while the third graphics slot is an x8 slot. Sitting alongside the PCI Express graphics slots are two x1 PCI Express expansion slots and two PCI slots.
XFX provides a very robust BIOS for overclocking. FSB speeds up to 625MHz are available within BIOS in 1MHz increments, while CPU voltages top out at 1.8V in increments of 0.0625V. Meanwhile on the memory voltage options max out at 2.5V.
The XFX BIOS also provides settings for adjusting memory timings, North Bridge/South Bridge/FSB voltage and HyperTransport voltage adjustment, and you can even overclock the link between the North and South bridges and PCI Express interface.
Inside the packaging you’ll find round IDE and floppy cables, a 4-port USB 2.0 header, SLI cable, optional chipset cooling fan, six SATA data cables, three SATA power adapters, Firewire bracket, metal I/O shield, and XFX’s quick install guide and manual.