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Mark R.

Mark R.

Joined on 06/27/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
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Most Favorable Review

Best Alternative to Reference Boards

MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard with SoundBlaster X-Fi Extreme Audio
MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard with SoundBlaster X-Fi Extreme Audio

Pros: - Solid state capacitors and an advanced PWM system means that this board should avoid the long-term reliability issues plagued by the reference boards. - It's the only 780i board on the market to include eSATA out of the box, and the included PCI-E X-Fi daughter card is better than alternative on-board sound solutions. - It's very easy to recover from a bad overclock, thanks to a reset CMOS button on the back panel. Cycling the power switch four times will also reset the BIOS to default settings. - Unlike other non-reference 780i boards, this one will cooperate with your components out of the box and is an able OCer. I'm at 3.6ghz stable with a Q6600 G0 and 4 gigs of RAM, and have benched as high as 4.05ghz. This is extraordinarily hard to accomplish with the ASUS boards.

Cons: - BIOS voltage are a bit cryptic. Overclocking may not be as easy (at the moment) as on the reference boards, but great results can be obtained with a little work. - No lead poster or equivalent, so if there is a problem, it can be harder to detect. - Early BIOS versions have known problems with 45nm chips. If you plan to pair this board with a Penryn, please do some research to ensure you won't have a problem.

Overall Review: Choosing a 780i board is a dilemma of trade-offs. If SLI is a factor in your setup, you're limited to an nForce motherboard. So what do you do? Get a reference board that will OC easily, but accept the very real risk that it'll fail in three to six months due to NB burnout, possibly taking your RAM with it? Or do you get a non-reference board w/o the long-term reliability issues, but then have to worry about it working out of the box and the chance that it will kick and scream when you try to OC? The P7N Diamond is the first 680 or 780i board I've seen where there really aren't compromises. Great materials will translate to superior reliability, and the P7N is already a proven OCer. Sure, if you're not going to go SLI, there is absolutely no reason to consider an nForce motherboard. But if you are, the P7N is strongly worth your consideration.