NVIDIA launched their integrated graphics chipsets for Athlon 64 about two months ago. The NVIDIA 61x0 family consists of three combinations of Northbridge and Southbridge geared at different market segments.

Base systems with the GeForce 6100/nForce410 quickly found their way to market, but it has taken nearly two months since the NVIDIA launch for the top-of-the-line GeForce 6150/nForce430 to appear. Asus, the largest of the Tier 1 board manufacturers, is often first to market with new chipsets. That is the case today as we take a first look at the performance of the Asus A8N-VM CSM, which features the 6150/430 integrated graphics chipset.

Specifications: NVIDIA GeForce 6150
NVIDIA nForce 430
NVIDIA GeForce 6100
NVIDIA nForce 430
NVIDIA GeForce 6100
NVIDIA nForce 410
CPU Athlon 64 or Sempron Athlon 64 or Sempron Athlon 64 or Sempron
PureVideo (High Definition) Yes Yes Yes
DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 Support Yes Yes Yes
TV Encoder Yes No No
TMDS/DVI Yes No No
Graphics Clock 475 MHz 425 MHz 425 MHz
PCI-Express 1x16
2x1
1x16
1x1
1x16
1x1
MPEG-2/WMV9 Playback HD(1080p/1080i) SD SD
Video Scaling High Quality(5x4) Basic (2x2) Basic (2x2)
SATA/PATA drives 4/4 4/4 2/4
SATA speed 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID 0,1,0+1,5 0,1,0+1,5 0,1
NVIDIA MediaShield Yes Yes Yes
NVIDIA ActiveArmorTM Firewall Yes Yes -
Ethernet 10/100/1000 10/100/1000 10/100
USB ports 8 8 8
NVIDIA nTuneTM Utility Yes Yes Yes

As you can see, there are several features that are only available with this chipset combination. The 6150 runs at a 475MHz Graphics Clock instead of 425 and features a TV encoder, High Quality Video Scaling, and dual video (DVI-D and RGB) outputs. The nForce 430 adds 2 more SATA2 ports (4 total), support for Raid 5, NVIDIA Active Armor Firewall support, and the hooks for 1GB Ethernet. These additional features make the 6150/430 a much more attractive solution for Multimedia applications or as the core of a Home Theater PC (HTPC) box.

Basic Features: Asus A8N-VM CSM
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  • highlandsun - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Yes, Googer is missing the point that this is supposed to be a complete *Media Center*, that means audio too. I need SPDIF in/out for my minidiscs and other audio devices. I have a multichannel amplifier but I'd prefer to feed it with a pure digital signal. And yes, the PCI slots are already spoken for (Fusion HDTV tuner). Reply
  • BigLan - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Actually, spdif and HD audio are pretty much mutually exclusive. The main benefit of spdif is to pass a dolby digital or dts audio stream untouched to a receiver from the dvd disk (or .avi file.) HD audio allows the motherboard to do 7.1 sound on the motherboard, which is then sent out of the analogue outputs - the 7.1 sound in games etc doesn't use spdif unless you have a soundstorm2 board or certain soundcards which do dolby digital encoding.

    For most HTPCs, HD audio doesn't actually do anything.
    Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    If i am not mistaken, ATI's chipset allows for 32 or 64MB of dedicated video RAM to be soldered in to the motherboard. This prevents it from having to resort to system memory. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Hmm... I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that the Marvell 88E1111 "Alaska" chip is just functioning as the PHY for the GbE resident in the nForce 430 southbridge chip. I don't see anything in the 88E1111 tech docs that indicate that it's a fully functional PCIe GbE controller - for that you'd need something like the Marvell's 88E8050 "Yukon" chip. Here are some links:

    http://www.marvell.com/products/transceivers/singl...">http://www.marvell.com/products/transceivers/singl...
    http://www.marvell.com/products/transceivers/singl...">http://www.marvell.com/products/transce.../Alaska_...'marvell%2088e1111'
    http://www.marvell.com/products/pcconn/yukon/index...">http://www.marvell.com/products/pcconn/yukon/index...
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The Marvell is a Gigabit PHY, just as in other nForce4 chipsets. As our benchmarks show, it is definitely operating at PCIe speeds. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    The fact that a certain PHY (Marvell 88E1111, Vitesse VSC8201RX, etc) and nForce4 MAC combo runs at speeds similar to a dedicated PCIe controller, doesn't make it a PCIe-based solution. Your article would lead one to believe that the Marvell 88E1111 is a PCIe-enabled GbE controller, which in fact it is not. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    We stated clearly in the Features Chart that the Marvel is a PHY (Physical Layer) chip. This is what we have been seeing in nF4 chipsets for quite a while. Reply
  • USAF1 - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    Sorry Wesley, but I still think that your article is misleading. The quote "Asus used the PCIe Gigabit hooks in the 430 Southbridge to provide PCIe Gigabit LAN on the A8N-VM." is just not factual. Neither are the "PCIe" labels next to "Marvell 88E1111" on your graphs. The fact of the matter is that there is no PCIe GbE on this board, yet it's plastered all over the "ethernet performance" section of your article. Why don't you just fix the mistake? Where is Anandtech's vaunted journalistic integrity??? Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Upon further research, it does look like the 88E1111 does use a different approach to Gigabit LAN than the PCIe solutions. Marvell refers to the chip as a "Single Port Transceiver". From a users perspective, the performance was found to be the same as PCIe Ethernet, but we have made a few changes in the wording and graphs to more accurately describe the Gigabit LAN used on this board. Reply
  • USAF1 - Friday, December 02, 2005 - link

    Thank you very much, Wesley. Now I can stop talking bad about you and your extended family. ;) Reply

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