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

    Nvidia chipsets are hard to setup? Huh? Are you serious?

    Really, if your friends dont know how to use hardrive autodetect in their bios settings, they shouldnt be building their own computesr in the first place.

    Ive used, SiS, ULi, Intel, ATI, Via, Nvidia, and Intel chipsets for builds in the last 2 months... and they are all identical in the setup department, more or less. The only major bug i can think of in the NF4 rigs was Active Armor, and i hear its been fixed, as well as the original problems with the Intel SLI X16 chipsets that too has been fixed... I can think of more problems than that in chipsets from ATI, Intel, sis etc...
    Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    He did NOT mention it is tough to setup.

    Nvidia simply makes gamboy like products.

    Whether you like it or not nf4 IS buggy, nor ULi, nor Intel nor VIA has such a buggy product on the market right now. Only ATI's screwed USB on the SB400/SB450 are comparable but you can use Uli for that here.

    If you are building gaming machine - go for nF4, if you are making production systems, stay away from it.
    Reply
  • Regs - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    That this is actually a bad thing for Intel since they have a actual competitor. Reply
  • MrSmurf - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Intel has chipsets that support Crossfire. Plus Inten is known for their stability. It's not that bad of a thing for Intel. Reply
  • FinFET - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    I know it's probably a screen cap, but when will people stop refering to 3Gbps SATA as SATA2.

    http://www.sata-io.org/namingguidelines.asp">Dispelling the Confusion: SATA II does not mean 3Gb/s
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    SATA2 does NOT mean 3Gb/s, as you point out, but 3Gb/s DOES mean SATA2. In other words, not all SATA2 is 3Gb/s, but all 3Gb/s is SATA2. Reply
  • fitten - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    I think he's refering to http://www.sata-io.org/namingguidelines.asp">this...
    Basically, there is no such term as SATA2 or SATAII or whatever.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Calling it SATA-IO does not dispell any confusion, since all SATA-IO is not 3GB/s, but 3Gb/s is by definition a SATA-IO drive. The point is 3Gb/s is only one of the new SATA possible features, but it is not a necessary feature for a drive to be SATA2 or SATA-IO. It seems to me all the SATA-IO name has done is further obfuscate the confusion that SATA2 and SATA-IO can mean 3Gb/s or they can mean next to nothing. That is the organization's marketing issue - which they have NOT resolved. Reply
  • fitten - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    I'm not arguing either way other than to clarify the other poster's post. You can use whatever term you want for it but be aware that the terms "SATA2" and "SATAII" and variations aren't used by the SATA standardization body, regardless of how obfuscated things are. Reply
  • Donegrim - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    nForce4 SLI x16 nad nForce4 SLI
    Is this a typo? just thouhgt id point it out.
    Reply

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