A fistful of nForce 590 SLI motherboards compared

Socket AM2 shows its strength

THE NFORCE 590 SLI is easily the most feature-rich core-logic chipset available for Athlon 64 processors. Nvidia takes feature integration further than any other chipset maker, and that's enabled the company to ensure a measure of consistency between motherboards based on its chipsets. Unfortunately, although core logic consolidation has done wonders for promoting a consistent end user experience, it's also made it increasingly difficult for motherboard manufacturers to differentiate their products.

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.

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