As we have come to expect a pleasant color combination from EVGA motherboards, the Classified E760 is no exception. The black PCB, an all black and red design provides the board with a daring, almost dangerously looking design which reminds us of colors from the animal kingdom.
Demanding our immediate attention at the very centre of the board is a huge north bridge cooling unit, which - once in operation - seems even more ominous with its flashing red EVGA logo. With the expected air flow inside a case, a heat sink of this size covering the north bridge would supply sufficient cooling, thus eliminating the need for an active cooled solution.
But what we really like with this cooler is the fact that it won't limit the usability of PCIe x1 board nor the graphics card. For instance, we had experience with catastrophically bad design calls on GigaByte EX58-UD5 and EX58-Extreme boards, where a bad cooler design rendered x1 and x4 ports practically useless. EVGA was very careful with the design and span the cooler all the way to memory modules, yet stayed unobtrusive - you can connect PCI Express versions of Creative X-Fi or ASUS Xonar with no issues, and if you're using this motherboard as a base for a powerful workstation, a PCIe SAS controller would fit the bill as well [but in that case, we advise max dual GPU setup and occupying one PCIe x16 slot for the x8 SAS RAID card].
Making a one slot clearance between first and second PCIe x16 port is a welcoming improvement in layout
Another feature that makes the board stand out from its immediate competitors is the PCI Express layout. As you recall from the front of the retail box, one of the E760’s biggest accomplishments is the ability to run 3-Way SLI and a PhysX card while still being able to use an added PCIe X1 audio or Killer Xeno Pro card. This could be done using dual slot GPU cards running 3-SLI in the three X16 slots, and having a single slot card in the third slot as a dedicated PhysX device. That still leaves the top X1 slot free, and is one of the most beefy setups you’re likely to witness on the X58 Platform.
On the other hand, if you will be running a standard SLI configuration, you could use the top and bottom X16 slots and still have space for an extra card in need of full PCI Express speeds. Note that in that case, you need a case that features eight expansion slots, not seven [standard ATX specification]. For instance, Silverstone Raven RV02 comes with eight rear brackets, while Raven RV01 features ATX-spec seven.
Undoubtedly, you will notice yet another feature - the use of dual 8-pin power connectors capable of supplying the processor with 600 watts of power. Using just one connector will be enough for most users and the motherboard will work in perfect order. But when you desire having a go at more extreme cooling methods, the second connector will come in handy. Note that you need to find a power supply featuring two 8-pin power connectors for the motherboard [NOT the 8-pin PEG - PCI Express Graphics one]. Intel's Skulltrail motherboard had the same requirement, so finding a power supply should not be an issue. We checked online and in enthusiast power supply segment, there are power supplies from Cooler Master, SilverStone, Tagan, Topower and many more.
Looking over the towering north bridge unit and onto the processor, the Classified has a quite clean socket area. This is due to the use of the10 phased digital PWM which eliminates the need for components around the socket, also making it easier to insulate when using exotic coolingmethods such as liquid nitrogen or dry ice. You can see that a combination of two hard core professional overclockers [Vince "kingpin" Lucido and Peter "Shamino" Tan] with the engineering team formerly of EPoX fame resulted in a product that caters to overclockers like none before. We might add that DFI now finally has competition in hard-core overclocking arena.
If you want to go extreme, just install a compliant power supply and your CPU will get up to 600W of juice!
Next to the processor socket area are six memory slots, now supporting a total of 24 GB [4GB DIMM modules are now supported]. Furthermore, having three DIMM slots kept in red nuances leaves the colored layout with a more complete impression. The Classified has an otherwise typical layout with a low heat sink on the south bridge, angled outside SATA connectors and a single ATA/IDE connector. Kudos and thumbs up to EVGA for tilting the connectors to help avoid cluttering cables and interference with multiple graphic cards which we equipped the E760 with during our extreme cooling test runs.
With the EVGA Classified targeting the enthusiast crowd, the bottom side of the board has been equipped with power and reset buttons as well as a Clear CMOS button – which is great for those of us not strapping this motherboard in a case as well as when overclocking on bench tables. EVGA brought these features couple of years ago, and it is good to see that now majority of enthusiast motherboards come with same features.
Looking at the top side of the Classified E760, directly above the DIMM slots you will find small voltage read points. Using a multimeter or voltmeter will give you an accurate reading compared to values set through BIOS and Windows, which are often not all that precise.
The rear I/O panel of the Classified E760 has all the necessary connectors you would expect to see; PS/2 keyboard, eight USB 2.0 ports, 6-pin FireWire, eSATA, Coaxial and Optical SPDIF, Dual Gigabit LAN, and HD Audio ports. The board was also fitted with a Reset CMOS button, not to be mistaken with the Clear CMOS button previously mentioned. The difference is that the Reset CMOS
only wipes current settings; say if the E760 won't complete BIOS Post, whereas the Clear CMOS
button totally clears the CMOS.
It seems clear that a lot of thought has gone into the development of the board design, and that the E760 like its predecessor has a well thought through layout.
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