With an eye toward maintaining a measure of unique identity in a sea of boards whose performance and features are largely defined by the chipsets they use, mobo makers are scrambling to break new ground. For some, new ground comes in the form of workstation-specific amenities like PCI-X slots. For others, it's digital voltage circuitry around the processor. Some have even challenged the chipset itself, replacing integrated audio with something a little more exotic.
But do these attempts at differentiation actually make for better boards, or are you better off with simpler designs that do little more than bring a chipset's payload to bear? To find out, we rounded up a fistful of nForce 590 SLI motherboards from Abit, Asus, DFI, ECS, and MSI.