The first motherboard with Nvidia's Nforce 980a SLI chipset reached our office: The Asus M4N82 Deluxe offers a socket AM2+ and DDr2 instead of AM3 and DDR3. We compare the new board to the predecessor Asus M3N-HT Deluxe with the Nforce 780a SLI chipset.
Comparison: Asus M4N82 Deluxe (left, Nforce 980a SLI) and Asus M3N-HT Deluxe (Nforce 780a SLI) (1) [Source: view picture gallery]
On our inquiry Nvidia confirmed that the 980a SLI is a rebranding and that the chi is identical to the Nforce 780a SLI. Accordingly Asus is using almost the same layout for the M4N82 Deluxe as it has been used in the predecessor motherboard M3N-HT Deluxe - which had a socket AM2+ and DDR2 slots, too. Both motherboards support SLI with three graphics cards (one time 16 and two times eight PCI Express lanes). The appropriate SLI Bridge is included. Furthermore Asus uses the same cooling solution for the M4N82 Deluxe.
While the Nforce 780a SLI variant M3N-HT Deluxe offers six SATA ports and an E-SATA connector the new M4N82 Deluxe only has five SATA and one E-SATA. Furthermore the Nforce 980a SLI doesn't have the graphics connectors (HDMI/D-Sub). Nevertheless the new board costs about 140 Euros while the M3N-HT Deluxe is available for about 120 Euros already.