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EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X16 runs SLI fast

First INQpressions EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
Fri Jul 07 2006, 12:58
EVGA is well known for its graphic cards, but not for its motherboards. EVGA is one of the strongest brands in the USA graphics card market and not so many people know that EVGA actually sells its graphic cards to companies such as Falcon NW and Voodoo PC. Some of these chaps asked for a motherboard from EVGA and with a little help from Jetway.

EVGA made a Nforce 4 SLI X16 motherboard with a dominant yellow colour. It's a socket 939 motherboard that supports DDR memory in all four slots. Two of the memory slots are painted in yellow while the other two are blue. This will help you be sure that you are using dual channel memory.

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The board features two PCIe 16X slots both capable of working at 16X mode and has two north bridge chips to make this possible. The north bridge that plays the role of a south bridge has active cooling while the real north bridge is still passively cooled. The board also features two PCIe 1X slots for the very rare expansion cards but if you use dual slot cooling with two SLI cards you can simply forget about them as they will end up blocked.

The board has three PCI slots for a Sound Blaster, maybe an Ageia physics card and god knows why you might need a third one, maybe for a fancy RAID controller. The board supports four S-ATA ports and two good old IDE ports are still there. Unavoidable simply don't want to die floppy connector is still a part of the motherboard and you can connect some extra Firewire and USB ports as well.

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The back panel includes two PS2 ports, a parallel port, good old serial port two SPDIF connectors, four USB 2.0 ports, two LAN cards and 5.1 audio analogue connectors. There is a Molex connector by the first PCIe 1X slot that might give extra electricity for your greedy graphic boards.

The package includes two IDE and a floppy cable, Molex to SATA power extension cable, SLI bridge, two SATA cables and a Molex extension power cable. The good old floppy with the RAID drivers is in the box.

The board supports all kind of memory tweaking settings. You can tweak and overclock the Hyper transport bus and overclock the board from the bios and set the FSB up to 300 MHz. and play with the voltages.

We compared this board with a good old Asus A8N32 Deluxe Nforce 4 SLI X16 motherboard in SLI and without SLI. We used two 7600 GT cards for this SLI and non SLI setup but we focused more on the board performance than on anything else. The most important is that we didn't had any issues with the board, we installed everything without a single problem and the board worked solid rock, that's what we care about.

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Benchmarketing
We used :
Athlon FX 57 2800 MHz single core Asus A8N32 Deluxe Nforce 4 SLI X16 motherboard
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 motherboard Albatron 7600GT 560/1400 MHz
Gainward BLISS 7600GT 575/1500 MHz
2x1024 MB Corsair XMS-3500LL PRO memory
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Akasa AK913 EVO 33 Athlon 64 cooler
Silverstone Strider ST60F, 600W ATX 2.0 SATA
Driver 84_21_forceware_winxp2k_whq

Doom 3
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
103.8
91.4
73.9
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
103.2
90.1
72.7
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
103.8
103.1
99.3
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
103.5
103.0
98.7
? ? ? ?
Doom 3 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
72.6
48.3
35.5
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
71.9
48.3
35.5
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
97.4
82.1
64.1
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
97.7
81.6
64.0
? ? ? ?
Far Cry
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
86.20
85.75
75.47
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
86.29
85.30
76.03
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
83.81
83.06
82.71
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
84.15
83.44
83.25
? ? ? ?
Far Cry High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 8X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
81.05
55.93
39.54
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
80.63
55.34
39.22
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
84.41
81.85
71.39
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
83.81
81.56
71.25
? ? ? ?
Quake 4
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
142.1
127.8
103.2
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
141.7
126.6
101.7
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
142.0
139.3
135.2
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
143.9
139.9
135.6
? ? ? ?
Quake 4 High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
116.0
83.8
63.4
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
114.8
82.8
62.8
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
134.2
124.0
111.1
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
134.8
124.8
112.3
? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Nature
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
13409
96.9
83.8
83.1
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
13313
96.6
83.4
83.1
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
22535
183.5
153.2
147.7
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
22517
183.1
152.8
147.7
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
1261
149.2
20.9
30.8
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
1268
150.3
21.0
30.8
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
1203
140.1
20.4
30.8
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
1202
140.7
20.2
30.8
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
2392.4
6397.2
37.8
284.4
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
2392.4
6397.1
37.8
283.6
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
4741.5
12747.7
69.7
496.5
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
4742.5
12743.9
69.7
495.4
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
3DMark 05
Game2
Game3
Nature
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
5995
26.0
18.3
29.0
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
5985
26.0
18.2
28.9
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
10861
44.6
34.0
54.0
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
10854
44.7
34.0
53.9
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
CPU Score ?
CPU Test 1 ?
CPU Test 2
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
5933
2.9
5.5
30.8
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
5957
2.9
5.5
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
5827
2.8
5.5
30.8
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
5711
2.7
5.5
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
2829.4
6650.2
185.1
51.5/37.8
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
2829.1
6637.8
184.2
51.5/37.7
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
5612.0
13137.4
359.8
102.5/74.4
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
5608.1
12818.2
359.0
102.5/74.0
? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
3079
? ?
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
3083
? ?
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
5102
? ?
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
5103
? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
1320
10.767
11.239
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
1321
10.779
11.233
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
2542
20.537
21.832
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
2538
20.612
21.692
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
1194
10.489
13.382
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
1196
10.536
13.385
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
2277
19.642
25.891
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
2261
19.550
25.676
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
1105
0.347
0.562
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
1108
0.349
0.563
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe SLI
1105
0.348
0.561
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16 in SLI
1105
0.348
0.562
? ? ? ? ?

PC Mark 2005

CPU
Memory
HDD
Total
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
4072
4306
5534
4446
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
4069
4241
5589
4361
? ? ? ? ?

PC Mark 2004

CPU
Memory
HDD
Total
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
5285
5224
5123
5318
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
5302
5105
5145
5394
? ? ? ? ?
Sandra 2005
CPU
Memory
Multimedia
ASUS A8N 32X SLI Deluxe
10194/8608
4931/4931
26473/28727
EVGA Nforce 4 SLI X 16
10193/8605
4934/4942
26472/28725

In Doom 3, the Asus board is slightly faster with a single card and can end up almost a frame faster. The boards are almost even with 4X FSAA and Aniso settings off. In SLI, Asus is still slightly faster but very marginally. EVGA wins a single resolution by 0.3 frames and its very levelled with Asus on the other resolutions.

EVGA manages to be slightly faster in Far Cry test but as well loses at 12x10 resolution by a little. You can gain up to half of a frame at 16x12. the board loses to Asus in the same game with FSAA and Aniso but again by up to half of a frame. EVGA is again slightly faster in SLI and runs up to half of a frame faster. Asus again wins FSAA and Aniso SLI test, but the performance is very marginal.

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Asus runs up to two frames faster in Quake 4. It also runs faster in 4X and 8X Aniso settings but EVGA again dominates the SLI test and runs almost two frames faster. EVGA is slightly faster with 4X DSAA and 8X aniso settings.

Asus wins 3Dmark03 benchmarketing and wins in overall store with the SLI on. 3Dmark05 runs by 10 points faster on Asus but the performance is almost identical. In both marks CPU test is slightly faster on EVGA board. The performance is almost identical in 3dmark06 but to all the fairness EVGA board wins by one to four insignificant points. The other scores are almost identical.

Asus runs PCmark05 a little bit faster as the CPU and memory runs faster on it but its still very close. PC mark04 loves EVGA better as the HDD and CPU tests are faster than on Asus but the memory still works better on Asus board.

Sandra 2005 scores almost identically on both boards.

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In Short
EVGA did a good job. The board won't came cheap as it will be priced at the higher price segment but will offer you all you want from a top end motherboard. It has all the features you need but Asus might offer a wireless LAN and some more features in the box for the same money. You can tweak the board, overclock it and it works really stabile. It's interesting to notice that the board can often run faster than Asus in SLI mode.

It is a good step for EVGA and even though someone else makes the board, the guys did a good job in marketing the product to the world+dog. It is a fast, overclockable and reliable board and we only hope that the next EVGA board based on Nforce 5xx can only end up better.

You won't make an error if you buy this one but we can at the same time recommend the Asus and the Abit boards, as the performance is so close. ?

Reviewed and tested by Sanjin Rados and Fuad Abazovic

 

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