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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  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    Typo corrected. We were adding info to the front page when you spotted the error. Reply
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - link

    there seem to be some nad's in the article on the first page in bold here:
    nForce4 SLI x16 nad nForce4 SLI
    Reply

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