Abit and MSI take on the nForce 650i
Comparing the Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI and P6N SLI Platinum
for Intel processors have traditionally been more expensive than those built for AMD chips, and that's nullified some of the Core 2 Duo's advantage over the Athlon 64 X2. Boards based on Intel's P965 Express chipset aren't that cheap if you opt for ones equipped with the ICH8R south bridge, and prices climb even higher if you want a second PCI Express x16 slot. Compare that to the Athlon 64 platform, where you can find scores of enthusiast-class mobos with CrossFire or SLI support for less than $150, and it's easy to see why some have opted for Socket AM2.
Nvidia's latest nForce 650i SLI chipset may pry the last few budget-conscious enthusiasts away from Socket AM2, though. The 650i rolls SLI support into mid-range core logic for LGA775 processors, and motherboard makers have been quick to deploy the chipset in enthusiast-oriented products.
The latest 650i-based motherboards to hit the market are Abit's Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI and MSI's P6N SLI Platinum, and we've been abusing both in our labs for the last couple of weeks. Can a textbook MSI offering challenge Abit's first attempt to adapt the Fatal1ty brand to a mid-range mobo? Read on as we test these boards against half a dozen others to find out.