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NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra and SLI Preview

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Chipsets
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
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nTune Optimization Software

If you remember from our nForce3 launch article, NVIDIA included some software called the "NVSystemUtility."  Well, gone is that name and in is the NVIDIA nTune software.  The functions are the same, though much improved.  For our initial look at this software, see our nForce3 review. 



NVIDIA nTune software has the obtuse goal to "maximize gaming performance" and to "run silent for DVD playback."  What this means to the PC enthusiast is overclocking and underclocking.  NVIDIA has also included some great monitoring funcitons as well as basic benchmarking and ID information that can be very useful for troubleshooting.



One of the main new features is the nTune's "search" feature that automatically attempts to overclock and tune your components to the maximum speed possible.  This is done by adjusting and changing your settings, including the processor voltage, clock, multiplier, NVIDIA GPU, memory timings and speed, and more.  The software is able to test thousands of possible settings to find the one that it deems the best performing, stable solution to overclocking.  Now, even NVIDIA admits that experienced overclockers will probably be able to achieve better overclocking by hand, but what this app provides them is a good starting point.  While it might take you the better part of a couple days to tweak your system completely, nTune can run in the span of a couple hours or less, providing you with a great beginning point to start pushing upward, cutting a lot of your trial-and-error time out of the job.  


This "search" tool in the nTune software even uses some very basic benchmarks to test system speed (you can see on the slide that Read, Write and Latency are measured) and that is how it compares settings to each other for discovering the best possibilities. 



The other new features that this software introduces are GPU overclocking, support links to websites, logging, tuning recommendations, and a BIOS flash utility.  Of all of these, the integrated GPU overclocking is the most exciting.  You won't have to edit your registry to adjust your core and memory clocks on GeForce FX and higher graphics cards -- you can do it right in with the other overclock settings.  And with that you get the advantage of being able to include GPU overclocks into your many gaming and application specific nTune profiles. 


 

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