NVIDIA announced two new chipsets for Intel processors today. Where NVIDIA has only targeted the high-end of the Intel chipset market to this point, the new chipsets are aimed at the entire Intel chipset line.

The new NVIDIA nForce4 SLI XE MCP is designed for the Performance Mainstream segment, while the new NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra MCP is aimed at the Mainstream market. Along with the existing nForce4 SLI x16 MCP, this chipset release means that NVIDIA has an almost complete top-to-bottom product range for all Intel Socket 775 processors. Motherboards based upon the new chipsets should be available in the retail channel within the next thirty days from several motherboard manufacturers.

The best way to show the similarities and differences in the new chipsets, the continuing nForce4 SLI x16, and the "to-be-discontinued" nForce4 SLI, is to compare their features. The below chart highlights the differences in the four chipsets.

nForce4 SLI x16 and nForce4 SLI

The expected price point for the existing nForce4 SLI x16 MCP will now start in the $150 US range and extend upwards depending upon options implemented on the boards. It appears the existing nForce4 SLI will eventually be phased out of the Intel line, since it has known problems with some Intel processors. These processor support issues were corrected in the nForce4 SLI x16 MCP. The new nForce4 SLI XE and nForce4 Ultra chipsets are also said by nVidia to fully support the full line of existing Intel processors.

The nForce4 SLI X16 MCP also offers full support for the upcoming Quad SLI technology and is optimized for overclocking. Unlike the new nForce4 SLI XE and Ultra chipsets, the nForce4 SLI x16 will offer up to 10 USB ports along with full support for the ActiveArmor secure networking engine and hardware accelerated firewall.

The nForce4 SLI x16 will continue to offer AC97 audio and not High Definition Audio. This is a particularly strange move, since the new nForce4 SLI XE and Ultra MCPs both support high-definition audio. It could be argued that the higher-end chipsets would more likely be used with a discrete audio card, but it appears that NVIDIA's plan is to introduce HD audio with new NVIDIA chipsets - leaving existing chipsets undisturbed.

nForce4 SLI XE
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  • Cygni - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Sorry that your experinces werent stellar, but your results arent typical, nor are they "FACT". Other reviewers have gotten excellent overclocking results from the Nvidia Intel chips:

    http://www.hothardware.com/viewarticle.aspx?articl...">http://www.hothardware.com/viewarticle.aspx?articl...
    http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&nu...">http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getart...ber=1&am...

    It seems to depend heavily on the motherboard mft, just as with 945 overclocking as well. Early revision Abit boards, for example, proved to be poor overclockers, while the latest are much better. Simple BIOS upgrades as well have proven to do wonders for some. Really, if you jumped on the first gen board from ANY builder, you are likely going to get burned, regardless of the chipset builder. i820 anyone?

    As it stands, the Nvidia boards are poised to make a serious run at intel's offerings... including the high end. They have the performance, they have the stability, and they have all the high end features, including overclocking. It will be interesting to see if intel has anything up their sleeve.
    Reply
  • BATCH71 - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    No, every review I have read except for one has made claim that the Nforce chipset sucks at very high bus speeds compared to the 955 or 945. Yes the 800FSB OC like crazy because they will never get to the very high bus speeds required for the high end 1066 chips. Sorry.

    I did read one review and the reviewer made claims that the P5N32-SLI "overclock real good" with the Award bios, to bad it uses AMI bios, Pfft.....

    Cmon Intel 975xx crack that Nvidia SLI code ;)
    Reply
  • Slaimus - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    I hope these new chipsets fix the compatbility problems with the low end Pentium D chips that the original SLI had. Reply
  • Gary Key - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Those issues are gone with the two new releases today and the nForce4 SLIx16 chipsets. Reply
  • Slaimus - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/200505240...">http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/cpu/display/200505240...
    http://theinquirer.net/?article=25036">http://theinquirer.net/?article=25036
    Reply
  • hans007 - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    look at the size of that heatsink fan unit on the chipset in the pictures.

    that thing is huge
    Reply
  • Joepublic2 - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    It's bigger than the HSF on my old coppermine P3. I wonder how large the die is, and what process it's being built with. Nvidia has a long way to go before they can compete with intel in the chipset market. Intel's chipsets might not have as many features, but at least the ones that they do have work properly. Reply
  • Furen - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    No Active armor on these? Isn't that a good thing? I suppose getting a quirky feature that you can disable is better than not getting it at all but not having to pay for it is nice... as is HD audio. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Good report, Wes.

    What I'm really annoyed by is that it appears that I will slowly be forced into buying an SLI mainboard if I want all the features. I don't WANT SLI. I don't NEED SLI. I'l NEVER USE SLI. I find it a costly waste of my money when I can wait for the next performance graphics card and buy one good one at a time. Boards with SLI are also less likely to have three standard PCI slots, which I still have use for.
    But, it appears that if one wants an Intel mainboard with the hardware-accelerated firewall, they'll have no choice. This causes me concern, as I'd be willing to bet nVidia will go the same route with AMD boards at some point. Whatever happened to those who want all the features, but think SLI is a gimmick designed to upsell video cards (specifically, nVidia cards)?
    Reply
  • ottawo - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Nvid can take thier chipsets and throw them into a gameboy. After my experience with nForce4 chipsets I would never choose nvid- at least not until they really mature and fix thier core logic bugs. Unless your building a gaming rig AND know how a little about how a motherboard/system works, stay away from these chipsets is my advice to my friends. Reply

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