Quad SLI was Nvidia's response to the ever growing ATI motherboard segment, especially in a moment when Crossfire setups were already producing comparable numbers to SLI ones. While at first 4 GPUs could only be paired in 2x2 dual-GPU cards, Nvidia quickly rolled out motherboards equipped with two MCPs, each capable of controlling 32 PCI-E lanes. In time, this trend become an IT icon. And the arrival of Nforce 680 SLI opened the way to affordable 2x X16 SLI solutions.
P6N SLI-FI represented one of MSI's fastest mainstream/ value motherboard when it came to Core 2 Duos. Everything from the SLI support (unfortunately only 2x X8 lanes are offered) to an “all-passive” cooling system (based on classical heatskins) is there. And if you look past the enormous amount of power needed to fuel this power-hungry 650i-based board properly, you will find some interesting extras. For example, the P6N SLI uses a good quality audio output based on the Realtek HDA 888 Codec.
Regarding the technology behind this board, MSI has integrated the classical NB+SB setup which is pretty much standard for all Nforce 6 solutions (Nforce 650i SLI chipset - C55 + Nforce 430i - MCP 55). As a result, the board provides 16 PCIe lanes just for the graphics and still manages to integrate all sorts of peripherals starting with SATAII and eSATA ports and ending with a total RAM size of 8GB (2GB / slot are possible). 4 PATA ports and a plethora of USB headers are also integrated onboard. An important extra is the presence of a dual IEEE 1394a header output which provides connectivity for two Firewire devices.
The motherboard is largely available on both local retailers and system integrators. However, its price tag remains close to the $160 mark, which is about the same price tag of a good P965 motherboard. In the end, it's up to you to decide whether you'll be buying an Nforce capable of SLI setups or choose to stick with INTEL.