We have had very extensive coverage on PCIe solutions from VIA and SiS, and today we complete the circle with some in depth information from NVIDIA's CK8-04; a chipset many have already decided to call nForce4. NVIDIA takes a firm stance in its roadmaps that this next revision of core logic will not use the nForce4 misnomer, so we will continue to call it CK8-04 until NVIDIA calls it something else. We first saw CK8-04 at Computex in June - and even then it supported dual PEG adaptors.

As expected, CrushedK8-04 will come in three flavors, CK8-04 SLI, CK8-04 Ultra and CK8-04. The Ultra and SLI chipsets are simply improvements upon one another, with the SLI chipset being the highest end solution. Vanilla flavored CK8-04 is very much the same as nForce3 250Gb, with the addition of 7.1 high definition audio and PCI Express. We also get four SATA 150 ports. RAID, 10 USB ports. Gigabit Ethernet and a hardware firewall.

The Ultra revision makes things a little more interesting; offering SATA 3Gb/s and an obscure device called the Secure Networking Processor. NVIDIA claims the "processor" enhances networking security, reduces CPU overhead and contains specialized features that defend against hacker attacks. Although we will have to see it to believe it, this journalist suspects it is probably nothing more than a tweaked ruleset for QoS and *maybe* some denial of service protection (hopefully outbound as well as inbound).

Finally, the SLI version of CK8-04 ties everything together with an additional switching PEG solution. Even though the CK8-04 only supports 20 PCIe lanes, NVIDIA's elegant graphic solution runs 16 lanes into what appears to be a separate switching bridge chip. This bridge can be electrically configured to either run all 16 lanes to one PEG interface, or 8 lanes to two PEG interfaces. Remember, PCIe supports 250MBps per lane, so as long as the video card can electrically support itself on 8 lanes, the theoretical 2GBps (full duplex) per video card of a dual x8 configuration is more than enough for upcoming video card solutions for many revisions to come. Current 8X AGP solutions run at 2.1GBps (half duplex) video bandwidth without coming in reach of taxing out the bus.

NVIDIA makes note in the roadmap that the Ultra and Non-Ultra revisions will only support single CPUs. We can only assume the SLI version will not widely be marketed for multiple Opterons, but it sure would be nice to give AMD and VIA some competition in that field. Samples of the new cores are shipping now and should launch early September. In reality, we probably won't see working cores for a few weeks still, but definitely expect to see boards on the shelves before Q3 is out.

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  • danidentity - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    Anemone, what issue would that be? Reply
  • Anemone - Sunday, August 22, 2004 - link

    Plenty of hints exist that both the GPU's and the chipsets will become available around the same time. And by GPU's I mean ones worthy of the reason you'd be buying a A64 and the CK08 in the first place. Via too, is planning to be in on this Pci-e chipset stuff too I think.

    Big thing from a go forward standpoint is will the CK08 have the same 'issue' with PATA and SATA and optical drives and so forth that the NF3 does...

    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    danidentity: True, although the 6600 is showing up now and i just dont have it in the engine yet.

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • zakath - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    WoW!!! More paper-tastic goodness from nV! (to steal a phrase from Ars Technica) Reply
  • danidentity - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    Kristopher,

    The best cards available in PCIe are the ATI X600 and the NVidia 5900. Both of those cards are from the last generation. The X600 is basically a 9600 in PCIe.

    When I made that comment I was wondering if NVidia 6800's in PCIe would be available when the CK8-04 is released. ATI's X800 is also nowhere to be found in PCIe at the moment.

    Dan
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    This is good news, one of those nForce4 Ult, oops sorry I meant CK8-04 Ultra will be just what I was after (I've no use for SLI as theres no way I'd waste money on two gfx-cards of the same generation). I just hope AMD manage to get the 90nm process churning out nicely overclockable A64s before the year is out (or very early '05). Reply
  • Anemone - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    Buy a new cpu? If you don't already own a 939, then changing over to it, should be an expense you expected anyway, imo. The decision on when to do that switch is up to budget of course.

    I was referring to a large amount of people who currently own 939 A64's and have wanted pci-e for a while (yes the videocards will match the release of the boards from looking at news on both), or those who have been waiting to dive into 939 until they could get pci-e. That is a large amount of folks, honest.

    Waiting 2 months? You still need bios revisions and the like, but the days of having to wait for hardware changes to get refined over time for Nvidia chipsets are 'mostly' behind us. In fact, if you think about it, this is really building on the NF3, which is a well working chipset, as you know. If you want to wait till January, super, then I won't be competing with you to get my board :)

    Budgets are what they are, and I am not saying that it'll be an easy thing to go out and buy tons of stuff to start using the CK08's, but I do think a great many folks have been avidly awaiting this board or a similar NV board with pci-e and 939, and I think those folks are going to be buying a lot of these boards.

    $.02
    Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    Falco.: It does not say, although i would assume so.

    danidentity: PCIe is here....

    http://www.anandtech.com/guides/priceguide.aspx?AT...

    Kristopher
    Reply
  • danidentity - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    If boards with the CK8-04 will be out by the end of Q3, does that mean NVidia's video cards will be available in PCIe at the same time? The boards sure aren't going to sell very well if PCIe video cards aren't available. Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Saturday, August 21, 2004 - link

    I don't think these boards will be selling like crazy, because with a board like this, you'll have to change the CPU and GPU at the same time. That's a huge expense, considering that you will most likely be buying a high performance CPU and graphics.

    Personally I'm still figuring out how the hell I'm gonna pull it of, because god knows I want to, but I just don't know how.

    And I wouldn't suggest you buy right away, since new MOBOs are well known for having all sorts of problems. Wait a month or even better two. I know I'll definately wait untill early next year for my A64/GF6800GT/CK8-04 combo :'(
    Reply

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