Overclocking and Conclusions
My overclocking experience with this motherboard using a standard Core 2 Duo E6700 processor was very impressive, especially when you consider the price point (which we’ll get into below) that you can find the ECS NF650iSLIT-A for sale at.
Above is our reference CPU-Z shot showing the system at default, stock speeds. The 1066 MHz FSB is running here with a 10x multiplier.
Going into the BIOS and setting the multiplier to 6x allowed us to stress the FSB capabilities of the ECS board by limiting the total frequency of the CPU, doing our best job of keeping its heat and speed levels out of the equation for this test.
The first jump was to 1400 MHz FSB – or 350 MHz quad-pumped as it were.
The maximum I was able to hit with stock voltages and cooling on the chipset was 425 MHz or 1700 MHz. The CPU frequency was only 2.55 GHz because of the 6x multiplier that I had set. Obviously you can see that by raising the multiplier by just 1x we would be reaching 3.0 GHz on this CPU, if the CPU and cooling was capable of it. This 1700 MHz FSB would also be more than enough to push the best DDR2 memory that you can find today to its limits.
The ECS NF650iSLIT-A motherboard proved to be a competent motherboard in terms of features and overclocking performance. As I have personally shown time and time again, the chipset performance (in tests for gaming, real-world applications) is nearly identical when comparing the same configuration even when comparing Intel’s top options to NVIDIA’s. So in the end, the real deciding factor for most enthusiasts is going be in features that are included on the motherboard and the overclocking abilities that it has. NVIDIA’s 650i SLI chipset looks like it could meet the needs of most of our readers for a much lower price than we thought possible.
Not only does it offer great performance and features right now, but NVIDIA has been working hard with Intel for some time and has been able to include support for all 1333 MHz processors including the upcoming Penryn core processors due out late in the year into the 650i SLI chipset. Existing 975X chipset motherboards can’t offer that, and you’ll have to move to the P35 chipset if you are looking for an Intel chipset solution with similar abilities.
Pricing and Value
The real juicy part of all this is the price; something I have alluded to many times but never pin-pointed for you. As of this writing, you can find the ECS NF650iSLIT-A motherboard for as little as $109.99 SHIPPED with a $20 mail-in rebate bringing the total to $89.
For comparison, the lowest priced 680i SLI motherboard I found was $190 or so and the lowest priced 680i SLI LT motherboard I found was $160. From Intel, you’ll need a P35 chipset motherboard if you want 1333 MHz FSB support, and those are starting at $135 or so for a pretty basic model.
It’s easy to see then why ECS and NVIDIA are pushing to promote this solution as they are; the NF650iSLIT-A is a fantastic value. If you were to couple this motherboard with either an Intel Q6600 quad-core processor or E6850 dual-core processor, both priced just under $300 after the July 22nd price cuts, the performance upgrade could be amazing while keeping your wallet a little fatter in the process.
The ECS NF650iSLIT-A should definitely be on any motherboard list for enthusiasts wanting a great product along with a great price on it. Coupling this ECS board and the nForce 650i SLI chipset with an Intel Core 2 Duo 1333 MHz FSB processor will no doubt be one of the best price/performance configurations you can find.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions from this review, please join in the discussion at our Intel Motherboard Forum!
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