Also Nvidia made sure that a lot of additional fans can be connected to their mainboard: there are seven corresponding connectors on the mainboard PCB. Moreover, the mainboard allows monitoring and adjusting the rotation speed of five fans out of seven from the BIOS Setup.
However, it is very hard to judge whether these small nice things justify the price of the solution which exceeds $250. But in the end, there are no other acceptable platforms for SLI configurations built around Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs. So, it would be not quite correct to regard this solution as a direct competitor to mainboards on Intel chipsets.
I would definitely like to say a few words about the chipset cooling solution. Although Nvidia uses 90nm process to manufacture the SPP of its nForce 680i SLI chipset, it heats up quite noticeably and hence requires efficient cooling system. Nvidia used a very unique heatpipe cooler on its mainboard.
This heatpipe transfers the heat from MCP to a pretty large SPP heatsink with large cooling surface provided by numerous thin copper ribs.
This cooler design allows Nvidia nForce 680i SLI based reference mainboard to do without active chipset cooling. However, only until you decide to perform some overclocking. Once the frequencies of the major busses increase, the chipset dissipates much more heat, so Nvidia recommends using a special 5000rpm fan to protect the chipset against fatal overheating. This fan comes with the mainboard and can be fastened with special clips and two tiny screws that can be tightened with a watch screwdriver. So, you will have to sacrifice the quiet operation for the sake of proper SPP and MCP cooling on Nvidia nForce 680i SLI based reference mainboard.
In conclusion I would like to say that although we admitted the smart design of the Nvidia reference mainboard, we still came across some design issues during our test session. And these issues were hiding on the reverse side of the PCB. Unfortunately, there are two relatively big case-free capacitors right beneath the processor socket, so you may experience some problems with the installation of the cooling solutions requiring backplate at the bottom of the PCB.