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Tuesday | October 19, 2021
XFX Motherboard Roundup

XFX Motherboard Roundup

Socket 775 nForce 610i/GeForce 7050

The XFX nForce 610i is packaged in a very compact box with plenty of information listed such as details on the processor socket, chipset details and memory compatibility. Inside the box we find the bundled extras such as the I/O shield and drive cables along with a basic manual. Additionally there is a also a full copy of Company of Heroes supplied.

XFX use a micro-ATX design for this product and have managed to create a flexible board. Starting off at the bottom left there are two PCI slots, a PCI-Express 16x slot and a single 1x PCIe slot. To the right are the drive connectors and this board has four SATA 2.0 connectors and a single IDE and single floppy connector.

The board requires a PSU with twenty-four plus four pin connectors and alongside the main power connector are the two memory slots. The official documentation for the 610i states that these support up to 4GB of DDR2-667 however we had no trouble running 2x2GB of DDR2-800 during our testing and the BIOS allows this option to be chosen with no restrictions.

Unfortunately despite this unadvertised benefit the memory support on the 610i is a little lacking as the product is limited to single channel operation … rather dated technology. CPU support is much better though and also managed to surprise us. As expected the Core2 range of dual core CPU’s (including Wolfdale) are all compatible with this motherboard as are most of the newer Yorkfield CPUs (Quad Core, 1333 FSB) but the documentation states that the X9650 cannot be used. This is not the case as we were able to successfully run an X9650 throughout our testing by manually setting the FSB and multiplier, additionally we needed to increase the chipset voltage to 1.6v for stability. NOTE: The CPU was recognised by the BIOS.

Along the back edge of the board are various inputs and outputs. On this product we have the PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors, four USB 2.0 ports, a single GBLAN, the 7.1 audio sockets which connect to the onboard Realtek chip and a single VGA. This connector signifies that onboard graphics are present and they come in the shape of the GeForce 7050. The 7050 is a ninety nanometre C73 chip with a single ROP and vertex shader running along with two pixel shaders. The chip uses a 64Bit bus and has access to 256mb of system memory. The core speed on the 7050 is set to 500MHz.

The BIOS installed on the 680i is based on the American Megatrends layout and gives us a very interesting insight into the origins of this board. All of the usual options are available such as the ability to configure onboard devices, boot order and the 7050 however there is one option available called Cell Menu, a section which is usually found on MSI products. After some further investigation we found that the board is designed by XFX and manufactured by MSI, leveraging their excellent knowledge and manufacturing facilities in Asia.

Inside the Cell Menu are configuration options for FSB (400-2500), Multiplier (5-60), memory speed (up to 1400MHz) and timings, DDR2 voltage (1.8v-2.4v) and chipset voltage (1.5v-1.7v).

 

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Stuart Davidson

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