The ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe 780a SLI Motherboard
Somewhat surprisingly, our primary review sample for NVIDIA’s new nForce 780a SLI chipset was an ASUS custom designed motherboard rather than one of the “built by NVIDIA” motherboards we have come to expect.  We are always happier to test with retail products than reference samples but with motherboards like the 790i and 780i we seemingly got the best of both worlds. 

In any event, the ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe based on the nForce 780a SLI chipset is a decent motherboard that has just a few outstanding issues.

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The design of the motherboard is pretty basic at its roots with a passive heatpipe cooler for the 780a north bridge and the nForce 200 chip.

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The CPU socket is a little crowded by the heat pipe components resting around it though we had no problems installing either our Zalman heatsink or Koolance water cooling block.

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The power regulation circuitry is covered by a small portion of the copper cooler configuration and you can see that ASUS is utilizing the newer MOSFETs to power the 8+2 phase design.

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The ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe motherboard has the now standard four DIMM slots that support DDR2 memory speeds up to 1066 MHz officially.

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The expansion configuration is what we expected after seeing the nForce 780a SLI block diagram – three PCIe x16 slots (the two blue ones are PCIe 2.0), two legacy PCI slots and a single PCIe x1 slot.  If you are using just two discrete graphics cards in SLI mode you will still have one legacy PCI slot open which is a good design decision to say the least.

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