Preview - Gigabyte's AM2 Boards (NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI & 570 SLI)


More on Gigabyte's nForce 590 SLI board

More on Gigabyte's nForce 590 SLI board

The real highlight of the board on first glances is of course its swell looking all heat pipe solution for both the Northbridge and Southbridge chips.

It uses a dual heat pipe solution for a more robust chipset cooling – now doesn't this remind you of another board we looked at not too long ago?

With the heat pipe carefully removed, the motherboard chipset is exposed.

The NVIDIA C51XE is the Northbridge (tunnel) chip that supplies a full complement of 16 PCI Express lanes to the primary graphics slot and has a yet unknown configuration that links to the MCP55 Southbridge chips.

This is the MCP55PXE Southbridge chip that is specifically meant to pair with the C51XE – the duo will form the nForce 590 SLI chipset.

The chipset and MOSFET radiator at the rear is designed to leverage upon the CPU cooler's airflow to exhaust the heat out through the rear chassis fan.

Underneath the radiator, we found that the board uses a 4-phase power design.

Moving further down, the board seems to be well designed with just about adequate clearance between the various components, which in turn are located at their ideal positions.

Expansion slot configuration is interesting – dual PCI slots, dual PCIe x1 slots and triple PCIe graphics slots. Of the latter, two of them are full PCIe x16 slots and the middle graphics card slot has an 8-lane configuration. The low profile heatsink of the Southbridge should have no issues as far as physical expansion slot compatibility is concerned, but the Northbridge chip may interfere with certain passively cooled cards with huge heatsinks.

The Southbridge chip provides a full complement of six SATA 3.0Gbps connectors with RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 array options.

If for some reason six SATA connectors aren't sufficient, Gigabyte has outfitted its top board with two more SATA RAID ports with the addition of a Marvell controller. Hence the total SATA port count now stands at eight. You can also see Texas Instrument's FireWire-400 controller on board, which is a tad disappointing considering Gigabyte's motherboard legacy of equipping them with FireWire-800 on premium models. However the board model is not finalized yet, so there might be some changes still yet to realize on the full production model.

This corner of the board looks to be a hassle for cable management. Also spotted is Gigabyte's famous Dual BIOS technology that we first tasted on their 1999's BX2000 (i440BX) motherboard.