The Abit Fatality FP-IN9 SLI NF650 motherboard makes for a good foundation for the system and offers a decent amount of upgrade potential. The most obvious area for future upgrades is the addition of a second graphics card. There’s an XFX 8600GTS XXX sitting in one of the PCI Express slots, while the other lays empty, waiting for a second card to create an SLI environment. It’s worth noting that this board doesn’t sport twin x16 slots, so if you do go SLI each card will essentially reside in an x8 slot. That said, two 8600GTS cards should be more than happy in this environment, and shouldn’t suffer from the reduced bandwidth. There are also two x1 PCI Express slots, although one will be inaccessible in an SLI setup. Finally there are two free PCI slots below the PCI Express complement.
The Abit board has two impressive looking passive heatsinks keeping the chipset cool – it’s always good to see passive chipset coolers, since the small fans that are sometimes used can make more noise than anything else in a PC.
There are four DIMM slots on offer, with two of them filled by a pair of Corsair TwinX PC6400 1GB modules. Although Corsair rates these modules at 800MHz, Scan has them reliably overclocked at around 888MHz in this system. With 2GB of fast RAM on tap, memory isn’t likely to be a bottleneck for the OC-GTS.
Only one of the four SATA ports on the motherboard has been utilised, although there is a 500GB Samsung hard disk attached to it. If you feel that you need more than 500GB of storage, or would like some redundancy present for peace of mind, you can always spec extra drives when ordering.
Scan has opted to use the onboard 7.1-channel sound on the motherboard rather than install an X-Fi card, although this could well be to do with the issues that Creative was having with Vista drivers for its cards. In fact Scan’s own configuration tool states that onboard sound is the only option available for the OC range.
The 3XS OC-GTS was configured in a dual boot configuration, with both Windows Vista and Windows XP on the hard disk. This is a great solution for the end user who may well still use XP for playing games but Vista for general Windows work. Of course as Vista proves to be less of an overhead for gaming, the need for dual boot will lessen, but for now it’s good to see that Scan is covering all the bases.