The allure of quad-core processors is sure to drive custom-system sales for builders. But early adopters are going to demand the best in system components to ensure maximum performance—starting with the motherboard.
Elite Computer Systems, Fremont, Calif., is looking to meet that high-performance bar with its latest motherboard, the PN2 SLI2+. The ATX-sized motherboard is designed for Core 2 processors from Intel.
The board is based on a Nvidia-designed chipset and includes a range of features aimed at maximizing performance. Developed to run either Intel's Core 2 Extreme processor or the Core 2 quad processor, the board also will accept any Intel LGA775 CPU.
To maximize overall throughput, the PN2 SLI2+ supports dual-channel DDR2 800MHz memory and a Level 2 Serial ATA hard-drive interface. Other performance-oriented features include integrated Gigabit Ethernet, eight-channel high-definition audio and a 1333MHz front-side bus.
Those looking for the ultimate in video performance will appreciate the inclusion of Nvidia's nForce 680i Scalable Link Interface (SLI) chipset. The SLI video interface allows a pair of high-speed video cards to be interconnected, thereby doubling video performance.
The board also offers three PCI Express X16 slots, two PCI Express X1 slots and a pair of standard PCI slots. System builders will find plenty of accessory ports, including IEEE1394a (FireWire), USB 2.0 and plenty of internal cooling fan connectors, along with the standard keyboard and mouse ports.
Between the performance offered and the rich feature set, the PN2 SLI2+ is well-suited for a high-end workstation, entertainment PC or even a gaming station. The board comes with a one-year warranty and is distributed by ASI, Bell Microproducts, MA Labs and MiniMicro. With a suggested retail price of $299 and a street price of about $210, system builders can provide an affordable option for their high-end PCs.