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NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Review

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Subject: Chipsets
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
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Introduction and Specification Overview

Introduction


It has been some time since Intel can say they have had any competitive competition in the chipset market.  I say "competitive" to say that though companies such as VIA, SiS and ALi have continued to be around, they haven't posed any real threat to Intel's dominance.  Intel sells the most processors, and they sell the most core logic chipsets for those processors.  That makes a lot of people at Intel very happy. 


But then the official word came from NVIDIA this winter that they had completed a licensing agreement to work on an Intel chipset.  Nearly no details were given at the time about the business or the technical side of this convergence, and even to this day, we know very little of what dealings went on between the suits at either company.  The technicalities, however, are being revealed today.


NVIDIA is laying claim of attempting to make the very best enthusiast chipset for the Intel platform.  Can they succeed?  And if they do, will it matter?


Feature Overview



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  • Pentium 4 CPU FSB Interface to interact with all current LGA775 Pentium 4 processors

  • Hyper Threading support

  • Dual channel 128-bit DDR2 memory controller

  • Support for up to 667 MHz memory modules

  • Up to 16GB of memory using four 4 GB DIMMs

  • HyperTransport connection between North and South Bridge (SPP and MCP)

  • Native Gigabit Ethernet with advanced networking features

  • Support for RAID 5, RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 0+1

  • Supports SATA II 3.5 Gb/s and SATA 1.5 Gb/s standards with TCQ and NCQ support

  • Four integrated SATA II channels

  • Two channels of ATA-133

  • Five total PCI Express controllers with 20 total lanes

  • x16 PCI Express link for graphics cards

  • SLI support for two x8 PCIe links

  • 10 USB 2.0 ports

  • AC'97 Audio for up to 8-channels

There are definitely some "highs" and some "lows" on this list, but let's touch more on those in the following pages.

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