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 18 January 2006
 NVIDIA
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 Technology Report
 Dr. Adrian Wong
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NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE and nForce4 Ultra Technology Report
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The NVIDIA nForce4 Press Briefing

Yesterday, NVIDIA held a press briefing at the Raffles City Convention Center, Singapore. This press briefing was to introduce two new nForce4 chipsets for the Intel platform.

Jean-Marc Ludwig, NVIDIA's Product Line Manager for nForce actually flew in all the way from Santa Clara to brief us on these new chipsets and answer our Q&A at the end of the session.

  

As you can guess by now, the two new chipsets are the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE and NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra.

        

The NDA has just been lifted so we are now allowed to brief you on these chipsets. Let's go take a closer look!

 

NVIDIA's Strategy

NVIDIA intends to carve further inroads in core logic for the Intel platform through these two new chipsets. But why are these chipsets critical to NVIDIA's plans? First of all, the new chipsets are targeted at mainstream users. It offers them two low-cost options - either the SLI-capable nForce4 SLI XE or the nForce4 Ultra which does not support SLI.

As you can see from the chart on the right, the nForce4 SLI X16 remains NVIDIA's ultimate chipset for the Intel platform. It's targeted at gaming and hardware enthusiasts who want nothing but the best. Unfortunately, that comes with a hefty price tag since motherboards based on the nForce4 SLI X16 will cost over $150.

But if you can afford it, you will be able to run two NVIDIA PCIe graphics cards in SLI at full x16 speed. Heck, Dell just demoed a Quad-SLI PC at CES! Yes, you read right - they had four NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs running on two PCIe cards in SLI!

In contrast, the new nForce4 SLI XE chipset is designed to be a performance chipset for the enthusiast on a tight budget. Motherboards based on this chipset are estimated to cost less than $99. For that, you get an SLI-capable chipset that NVIDIA claims is faster and has more features than then Intel i945P chipset.

But if cost is a serious consideration and you do not need the capability to run SLI, then NVIDIA offers the new nForce4 Ultra chipset. Motherboards based on this chipset will cost less than $89. Even so, NVIDIA claims it will best the Intel i945P chipset in both performance and features.

That's not all. If you take a look at this chart, you will see how these two new chipsets allow NVIDIA to provide a complete range of chipsets for the Intel platform.

Right at the top is the nForce4 SLI X16, which as mentioned above will be found in motherboards that cost upwards of $150. Below it is the nForce4 SLI which is targeted at motherboards that cost between $100 and $150.

As you can see, the two new nForce4 chipsets complete NVIDIA's core logic offerings for the Intel platform. Targeted at mainstream users, they allow motherboard manufacturers to offer both SLI-capable and non-SLI motherboards for less than $99.

Of course, the lowest end of the market will be dominated by the old AGP-based motherboards. Needless to say, NVIDIA will not be developing any new AGP-based chipsets.

In the coming pages, we will be taking a closer look at each of the new nForce4 chipsets and see what's so special about them. But first, let's take a relook at the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16.



 

 
   
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