If you thought EVGA was out of the motherboard game with Nvida sitting out the Core i7 chipset game, think again. EVGA just released the spec’s of an upcoming Nehalem motherboard with SLI support.
EVGA’s X58 SLI FTW mobo won’t be based on an nForce chip, instead it will use an Intel x58 chipset. The board will feature a six-DIMM slot configuration and support for both 2-way and 3-way SLI. The board is one of several that Nvidia will “bless” with SLI support in drivers. The other option to obtain SLI support is for board makers to integrate nForce 200 chips into the PCB. Most of the early X58 designs are foregoing the chip for now though. Nvidia did announce recently that Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and DFI as well as EVGA would support SLI.
The cost of the SLI certification for boards without the nForce 200 has been reported to be as high as $30. Recently, however, Expreview.com, reported that Nvidia was charging $5. Nvidia has not verified any of the pricing saying that the cost varied from contract to contract based on the volume and terms set up in each deal. The company did pooh pooh the earlier report of $30 though.
The X58 SLI FTW will feature “VDroop” for stable voltage control, an “E-LEET” turning utility for overclocking as well as 100 percent solid state caps, 10 SATA II ports and is expected to be released in November.
A spokesman said while many believe that the company only sold reference designs, EVGA has been bulking up its board division and has 60 employees devoted to motherboards. The company doesn’t actually physically build the boards like Asus or Foxconn would, but it is spec’ing the boards and the BIOSes are being written in house.
Nvidia continues to maintain that it will have a Nehalem chipset, but not a Core i7 chip. The company said it has decided to forego designing a chipset for the first Core i7’s on the Socket 1366, but will build one for the Core chips slated for next year in Socket 1066. Those Core chips are expected to feature integrated graphics integrated into the CPU package, will be dual-channel DDR3 and integrated PCI-Express into the core. While Core i7 uses a high-speed QPI to talk to the chipset, Core chips on the Socket 1066 will use the slower DMI interface.
The X58 SLI FTW is scheduled for a November release and pricing was not available yet.