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  • PrinceGaz - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    I was also staggered by how bothered some people were with SoundStorm -- it was never state-of-the art sound, just like how the onboard GeForce4 MX-like graphics the nForce2 had was something no serious gamer would be happy with. If you want top good quality sound you buy something specifically designed for it as you'll never get it on a motherboard (unless you live in an AOpen fantasy world and think putting valves on a motherboard counts).

    The CPU utilisation while using RAID on the nVidia chipset, and also on a straight IDE drive as well, did come as a bit of a surprise to me. I'm into capturing and encoding high-quality video so excessive CPU load from disk-access while doing so would be a real issue to me as it demands both CPU power as well as disk-throughput.
    Reply
  • vlor - Friday, April 02, 2004 - link

    hummm,
    I only saw a few things that bugged me but what amazes me is out of all the people who posted, hafc why sound storm wasn't on the 250... do a little research and you will find that the codec's cause interference, and we as take up significantly more signal processing than most people care to think about. I'd love to see what Nvidia could do with a riser card once the PCI buss isn't so saturated. Oh and the is a board with an realtek850 linked to an nforce2, and DFI doesn't even mention sound storm but the setup is one of the better soundstorms out there including my asus deluxe.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - link

    Wow, the hate level here is extreme, especially since it was a pretty good review overall...

    Phiro: Go elsewhere. Your not being helpful at all, and your complaints are simply rediculous in many situations. If you really want the level of technical detail you seem to be demanding(but do not appear to have the background to comprehend), go to Ace's Hardware. More knowledge than you'll ever need to know.

    As for the nit-pickers: A bit of terminology was off, however overall they were accurate and I think some of these complaints are not concerning any mistake Anandtech made, but simply that they did not include information that you personally felt should be in there(never mind the fact that since you noticed it missing, it apparantly is information you already knew). I also will point out that much of what you are complaining about is already covered in previous articles on the various technologies, and are available for anyone who wants to know exactly what HyperTransport means, etc. Nothing wrong with clicking a few links to find it. I would not mind seeing AT add a 'related articles' link somewhere obvious with all related technologies listed(and possibly even some off site links, Ace's and Ars Technica often have great technology writeups). But its not that big a deal overall...

    To the guys about SoundStorm: You are really in the minority, anyone interested in quality sound uses and add-on card already, and as for basic sound the solution they are including is good enough for them. Your essentially begging for a mid-range to low end solution on an already feature rich setup, I'd say spend the $40 on something like that if you really want to, or just drop $20 more and you can have a Santa Cruz and blow it out of the water.... It is not a huge loss, its the first thing I disabled on my NF2 board.

    Anandtech: Keep up the good work. I can't wait to see the first PCI Express capable chipset review..
    Reply
  • Da3dalus - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    There should be tests of the 5950U on a non-nVidia chipset as well, to see how much it gains when coupled with the nf3-250Gb. It just seems a bit lacking in that right now. Reply
  • agent2099 - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    “Apparently you COMPLETLY overlooked the fact that most (all, AFAIK) SoundStorm boards offered digital output which bypassed those codec's completly. Which just happens to be EXACTLY what I use, and was a major selling point, allowing me to send out my DD/DTS signal to my amp for DVD's as I use for regular computer use. VERY handy”

    I agree, I think the lack of soundstorm is a huge oversight. I currently use the digital (optical out) from my nforce2 board and couldn’t live without it. This is especially important for SFF PCs.

    “I do not find it surprising at all that most customers don't care about the sound storm stuff. After all, the vast majority of PC users (outside of the geek market of course) have their PC hooked up to $9.99 basic speakers -- sound storm is not going to make a difference at all, and is simply not a selling point.”

    Well of course we are talking about the “geek market.” If we are talking about the average PC user that has $9.99 speakers, they don’t need ½ of the other things on the chipset, including SATA RAID and Gigabit Ethernet.
    Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    I'm a little disappointed and alarmed by the high CPU utilization (up to 35.1%) on this nVidia chipset(or maybe all A64 platform?) compared to Intel's 3.8% CPU utilization. Which means your CPU could spend 1/3 of its time processing disk access during disk intensive operations. Reply
  • Nighteye2 - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    the single 10k benchmark is a good addition, but there still isn't any comparison of SATA RAID between 2 Athlon 64 systems - can you add the SATA RAID performance of the integrated RAID of the ASUS K8V MB? The review just isn't complete without a good comparison of RAID performance to a similar platform. (with the same processor)
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    #38 -
    This is not completely accurate. While there is not and will not be a specific dual-channel version of the chipset, as you point out, Ultra is not the same chipset. Ultra for nVidia represents the 1000 HyperTransport bus, while the regular designation of nForce3-250Gb represents 800 HyperTransport. The chipset in the nVidia Reference Board we tested, as we clearly spelled out in the review, is the nForce3-250Gb Ultra used in a socket 754 configuration. Since it is used in Socket 754 it is a single-channel memory configuration, but it does offer 1000 HyperTransport.

    It is true than any of the nVidia chipsets can be used in any of the Athlon 64 Socket configurations, but the available HT and features do vary, whether by design or binning. An nForce3-150 on Socket 940 boards was still 600HT.

    As you point out, the names will likely be used in confusing ways, and features can be limited by the board manufacturer's design, but nForce3-250 Ultra is 1000HT, nForce3-250 is 800HT, and nForce3-150 is 600HT. The Gb represents the versions with on-chip Gigabit LAN and Firewall.

    There are early 800HT versions of the 250 chip floating around, but like Intel's 875/865 the HT frequency will likely result from binning - those that fail 1000HT become 800HT versions.



    Reply
  • Cygni - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - link

    "", on the dual-channel nForce3-250Gb Ultra version of this chipset."
    I want to emphasis that THERE IS NO and WILL BE NO "dual channel CHIPSET version" for A64, S754, S939, S940 or whatever. If Nvidia wants to make us to believe "buy newer and more costly nf3-250 ULTRA boards for S939" this does not mean that we (and mobo makers) should believe them and not use S939 CPUs with non-Ultra nf3s."

    If you are using a Nforce3-250 chipset on a S939 board, it automatically becomes an "Ultra". Its not a different chip. AMD has announced that the A64's for Socket 939 will be dual channel, making the Nforce3-250 Ultra the member of this family that will see dual channel. In that sense, the NF3-250-U is tbe dual channel version.
    Reply
  • wassup4u2 - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    To clear up a little A64 confusion... Hyper Transport vs. Front Side Bus. The A64, as we all know, has an integrated memory controller. The FSB always has been, and always will be, the link between the processor and the memory. In the K8, I believe, all frequencies are determined based on multipliers of the HTT frequency. Unlike in P4/AXP systems, in which the memory controller is on a separate chip and all frequencies are multipliers of the FSB. So by increasing the FSB, you can increase memory performance. In a 2U or more config, HTT is the bus connecting the CPUs and the chipset. That's why there's not much of a performance difference between NF3-150 (600MHz HTT) and K8T800 (800MHz HTT).
    And enough with all the hating! This article did have its flaws, but by the way ppl are talking, you'd think it was in Chinese originally and translated by an online translator.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    And for amalinov, lay off the caffeine/Bawls/whatever for a while and take a few chill pills. THG and AT got you down for not spending three pages clearly spelling out every nuance of Hypertransport in every single article that mentions them? OMG, how ever will we survive? If it's that important to you, maybe you should include the correct information rather than just ranting about the problem. For the record:

    In AMD Athlon 64/Opteron systems, the Hypertransport bus is clocked at 800 MHz and is double-pumped, yielding a theoretical rate of 1.6 GHz. However, that is both upstream and downstream rates, so if you want to get a bigger number you can call it 3.2 GHz full duplex speed. Normally, the Hypertransport bus is 16-bits wide, which would then give you 51.2 Gbps of bandwidth. Using marketing, you divide that by 8 and come up with 6.4 GBps of bandwidth.

    Now, of course, is a great time to get your pants in a bind about the lack of proper conversion between GHz and GBps. 1 GHz is 1 billion cycles per second, of course, while 1 GB is 1024*1024*1024 bytes. So in reality, the 6.4 GBps speed is inflated, and the real value is 5.96 GBps. But that requires more math skill and technical knowledge than most people possess, and so it's easier to just "fudge" the result. Intel, of course, has the same problem with their 800 FSB providing 6.4 GBps of bandwidth. Notice how in benchmarks, none of the current chipsets for any platform ever surpass 6 GBps of bandwidth? That's because they *can't*. Realistically, anything in the neighborhood of 5.5 GBps or so is "maxed out".

    Then of course we have the problem with the original Nforce3 150 only providing 800 MHz and 16-bit upstream with 600 MHz and 8-bit downstream (or vice versa if you prefer - me, I call going from RAM to CPU "up" and CPU to RAM "down", but others, like THG, differ). So on the Nforce3 150, your maximum upstream bandwidth (i.e. from the RAM to the CPU) was 3.2 GBps (really only 2.98 GBps because of the 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 "fudge"). Your downstream bandwidth (i.e. from the CPU to RAM) was only 1.2 GBps (once again, only 1.11 GBps really), with the total aggregate memory bandwidth being 4.4 GBps (4.09 GBps true speed).

    There. Do you feel better now? Is everyone enlightened? Probably not. Adding such a lengthy explanation to every fraggin' article that discusses chipsets would just be redundant bloat. Those who really care probably already know, and those who don't care will just get tired of hearing about it. You might as well dredge out the old hard drive manufacturer claim where 1,000,000 bytes = 1 MB and 1,000,000,000 bytes = 1 GB. But hey! There's a class action lawsuit on that already, so maybe we can get something done about Hypertransport and FSB bandwidth claims as well?
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Wow... lot's of hate in the comments today!

    Overall, the major change with NF250 seems to be the working PCI/AGP lock, plus some features that were often included via other chips on the high-end boards. I do like Nvidia's answer to Intel's CSA, even though I'm still running 100 Mbit. Maybe in the near future I'll upgrade to a GbE switch, but for now I only have one PC with a GbE port, so it's pointless. I'm a little surprised at the RAID CPU usage... almost looks like software RAID to me! 25%-35% CPU usage is way higher than I would consider acceptable!

    Anyway, here's my one big complaint: You show how NF250 + FX5950U was in general faster than NF250 + R9800XT. Big whoop. Since the only other comparison that isn't NF250-based is running on the SiS chipset with a 9800XT, we don't know whether the performance boost is due solely to the graphics card, solely to the chipset, or a combination of both. It's most likely a combination, but it would have been much better to include the FX5950U on the SiS motherboard as well. We have the baseline measurement for the 9800XT, but we don't have a baseline measurement for the FX5950U.
    Reply
  • notoriousformula - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Stupid Anandtech Flash graphs, can't even copy and paste on word :-(..

    Overall Great review!

    PS: i don't have internet at home, i was trying to save the article to floppy disk.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    A little more investigation into the slight performance-increase nVidia cards gain on an nVidia mobo (or possibly a deliberate penalty non-nVidia cards receive?) would be interesting.

    I trust that no graphics-card reviews will even consider using nVidia chipset mobos (or other major gfx-card manufacturer) as the testing platform now it looks like they give their own cards an advantage, even if they offer the best performance overall on any card. It would be better to use a lower-performing platform than a biased one.
    Reply
  • Phiro - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    In ALL comparisons? You mean the ONE comparison, the mysterious 67 versus the INTEL 13 versus the NVIDIA 6, locked in a titanic struggle over the fate of the world's supply of Crayola magic markers! Who will win, and what doom awaits the survivors on Earth?

    Wait until the next exciting episode of AnandTech Z, where we'll spend 30 minutes of your time showing you 3 minutes of data!
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    #28 -
    It was an INTEL PCI Gigabit Ethernet adapter in all comparisons to PCI Ethernet.

    #26 and #27 -
    I will add 10,000 rpm single drive benchmarks to the Sandra and PCMark2004 charts. As soon as the benchmarks are complete the charts on page 2 will be updated.
    Reply
  • amalinov - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    regarding Wesley Fink's #22:
    I understand the point about SiS755/FX, nf3-250Gb/Ultra, K8T800/Pro. If the difference between these models is "the smaller chipset supports max HT@1.6GHz, the bigger - HT@2GHz" (here I intentiosly use data frequency of HT, and not clock frequency - witch is half: 800MHz and 1GHz. This is becouse elsewere - for FSBs, and for Memory speeds all we use data frequency "800MHz P4 bus", "1000MHz GeforceFX memory", "550MHz DDR SDRAM").
    BUT if you add to this REAL difference the imaginary "smaller chipset supports S754, bigger supports S939" - this IS WRONG!!!
    but that is not my point. Here it is:
    in the article was written:
    ", on the dual-channel nForce3-250Gb Ultra version of this chipset."
    I want to emphasis that THERE IS NO and WILL BE NO "dual channel CHIPSET version" for A64, S754, S939, S940 or whatever. If Nvidia wants to make us to believe "buy newer and more costly nf3-250 ULTRA boards for S939" this does not mean that we (and mobo makers) should believe them and not use S939 CPUs with non-Ultra nf3s. HT2GHz will not bring any performance benefits anyway (it will be advantage to chipsets with integrated video. It will be advantage to 2-way, 4-way, 8-way Opteron systems. It will be advantage to chipsets with multiple PCI Express x16 and/or chipset with 8-drive RAID-array with SATA/300. But for normal use HT@2GHz will bring nothing over current HT@1.6GHz).

    regarding #29:
    I don't want to flame. I THINK that I make only a "constructive criticism". Before I have sended some emails to a motherboard reviewer at AnandTech and later (after 1-2-3 reviews) they taked into account my remarks and changed the wrong sounding of a minor thing (about the space between the AGP and DIMMs). So I can only congratulate them! Here again Wesley Fink answers my "flames" and I am gratefull. I also so hope that the quality of writing will improve becouse of such critic/flames.
    Reply
  • Ilmater - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    "Also, another topic not well understood at Anandtech, Tom's, etc.: A64/Opteron FSB speed, HyperTransport speed, etc. - they (the writers) are mixing up clock frequency in MHz, data frequency in DDR and MHz, bandwith in GB/s. They think FSB and HyperTransport is the same thing. They think that HyperTransport is 800MHz (or maybe 200MHz "quadrupelt") - maybe becouse of similarity with P4. They think that their nf3-250Gb has a "250MHz FSB". They don't explain to the users on what depends the memory clock in a A64 system."

    Easy trigger. amalinov, I think you're jumping the gun here a bit. What TRULY makes or breaks a review, IMHO, is the conclusions drawn from the given data and the suite of tests performed. You people are psychotic, and I feel bad for those at AT. CALM DOWN!

    First off, 90% of all online hardware review sites mix up the bus rate, the data throughput, and the bandwidth. Yes, they should establish a standard, but to come in here flaming about it is ridiculous. Voice your opinions calmly on a board and I'm sure they'll address them. I'm very impressed with their response to criticism here. If you find that they don't address your concerns, then post in the forums and concensus about it. That's a much better means to an end.

    Secondly, the reason I left Tom's was because they seemed to grab RIDICULOUS conclusions from given data. There would be two benchmarks right next to each other and they'd claim statistical insignificance, but then there would be another with less of a difference and they'd claim that one was STOMPING the other. They seemed to favor certain manufacturers.

    However, I do not feel that AT falls victim to that.

    So, amalinov, while I feel that some of your criticisms are valid, I feel that you should voice them differently and ease off the flames.

    Now I get to voice my opinion, and I agree with jeremyk442 in #26, and I feel these were glaring omissions. IMO, those SATA/RAID benchmarks are mostly worthless. Just some (hopefully) helpful criticism, I think you should think about what you really want the benchmarks to show before you run them. While it's nice as a side note to show people looking to possibly upgrade to a RAID array how two WD Raptor 10k drives (a very likely upgrade choice) in RAID 0 compare to a single 7200 RPM drive (a common starting point for those looking to upgrade), that's a different article. These benches should be to show the benefit of this RAID array vs. others, or at least a single drive (drive x) vs. two of the same drives (two drive x's).

    For the most part, I thought it was a pretty good article and very interesting, but there were some glaring problems.
    Reply
  • Phiro - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Wesley Fink:

    "We showed some benchmarks of Gigabit LAN in Part 1, Page 6 of the nForce3-250 review."

    You call those benchmarks? #1, it ain't plural. You put one crummy graph up. #2, a first grader would be ashamed of a bar graph like that. What is it a benchmark of, how long it took you to color it in with your Crayola marker? 67 to 13 to 6? Of what? To what? Doing what? "PCI Gigabit Ethernet" - what brand? It's no brand - all that is, is a drawing of THEORETICAL speeds!

    "We also discussed throughput benchmarks in Part 1 of the article and in front page comments in reply to questions. "

    Geez, I'm sorry, I didn't wade through 70 comments looking for it. Also, I apologize for thinking that part 2 of your review, you know, the part you said "will contain benchmarks", might actually.. contain a benchmark!

    "We chose NOT to publish these benchmarks in a splashier way because you will actually see the doubling of performance only in somewhat rare situations on today's systems."

    First off, you can quit thinking you know how we use our computers. You don't. Benchmark the shit, take our feedback, improve your process, rinse, repeat. With a fat banner ad or two around the frame, you make your money. The moment you start thinking for us = the wrong moment.


    "You will not, for instance, see any difference today in broad-band network connections available to most users."

    Just post the goddamned numbers flyboy, and read your editorial to your dog, who gives a much bigger crap than the rest of us.

    Look, I tried to ask nice - I even said "jeebus" up there instead of worse word. But all you want to do is make excuses and explain how it's not really your fault.

    It's really your fault.
    Reply
  • Nighteye2 - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Why is the RAID comparison against an Intel solution? That's throws in too many variables...

    The ASUS K8V also has SATA RAID, so why not compare it to that? That'll also be more useful for people looking to buy an Athlon 64 system...
    Reply
  • jeremyk442 - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    I was disappointed to see a comparison of the 10k RAID to a single 7200 drive. How does that show us the benefits of RAID when the 10K vs 7200 variable is in the mix. Also, performance tests of mixing SATA and IDE in RAID setups would be nice.

    Also, in comparison of the NVIDIA vs ATI graphics cards, the NVIDIA card was not tested on the other platforms (or at least it wasn't graphed) making it difficult to determine the benefit that the 250Gb chipset gives it. Also, I wanted some more commentary on why the chipset gives the NVIDIA card a performance advantage. It seems a little suspicious to me.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    #24 beat me to the punch. Even the digital output capabilities of SoundStorm are rather inferior compared to other solutions. Its not a great sound chip, but then I covered this territory in part one.

    Honestly, this chipset seems lacking to me. The best part of it is the gigabit ethernet, but even that is overkill for most setups. If it had included PCI-Ex I woulda considered it a better solution, but as it is I'd rather just wait...
    Reply
  • Odeen - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    "Apparently you COMPLETLY overlooked the fact that most (all, AFAIK) SoundStorm boards offered digital output which bypassed those codec's completly. Which just happens to be EXACTLY what I use, and was a major selling point, allowing me to send out my DD/DTS signal to my amp for DVD's as I use for regular computer use. VERY handy."

    It's a nice solution, but a flawed one. It's not DTS, it's just a 640K/second 6-channel Dolby Digital stream that, because it's generated in real-time, doesn't use any "tricks" to boost effective bandwidth, just six independent channels occupying a little over 100K each, 5-to-1 compression ratio or so.

    As 3dsoundsurge.com tests of the nVidia Soundstorm show, the compression essentially nukes ALL frequencies over 18,000hz. I would think that, as a sound purist, you'd object to listening to compressed audio, especially quick-and-dirty compressed audio, day in and day out.

    I'd be much happier if Soundstorm either used firewire audio out for compatible receivers, which has enough bandwidth for a DVD-Audio stream(6 channel uncompressed 24/96 or stereo 24/192), or some sort of multiple digital outputs, each carrying a straight SPDIF stereo stream.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    #21 -
    We showed some benchmarks of Gigabit LAN in Part 1, Page 6 of the nForce3-250 review. We also discussed throughput benchmarks in Part 1 of the article and in front page comments in reply to questions.

    With a benchmark that could actually supply 2Gb/sec to test on-chip Gb LAN, throughput for a PCI-based Gb card was around 840kb/sec, while the on-chip LAN was about 1870kb/sec - more than double the throughput.

    We chose NOT to publish these benchmarks in a splashier way because you will actually see the doubling of performance only in somewhat rare situations on today's systems. Instead, we talked about where the on-chip Gb LAN would make a big difference - LAN gaming with Gigabit switches, Corporate Gigabit LAN, file-sharing on Gigabit home network. You will not, for instance, see any difference today in broad-band network connections available to most users. nVidia's on-chip LAN is a great idea that will become even more useful in the future.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    #19 -

    nVidia calls their version for Socket 939 'nForce3-250Gb Ultra', much as VIA calls K8T800 for Socket 940 the 'K8T800 Pro', and SiS calls their 939 version 755FX and not 755. Ultra, in the case of nVidia, means 1000 HT capable. I mention in the review that any of the chipsets can be used on 754 boards if the manufacturer chooses. It is also clear that the review board is based on the nForce3-250GB Ultra with 1000 HT that will be used in Socket 939 boards in the future.
    Reply
  • Phiro - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    One comment, one demand/request.

    Comment: I like nvidia's onboard sound, but if really want to decouple it from the motherboard and sell them as stand-alone cards, that's fine with me too.

    Demand/Request: You had a gigabit ethernet nforce3 and you never even benchmarked the damn thing? WTF is wrong with you people? Holy jeebus - even if you don't have the hardware from other manufactors to do some good benchmarks, you could at least show us what your reference board gets talking to card X or whatever, or better yet two 250gb's xfering files to each other over a crossover cable.

    Reply
  • Regs - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    I want to see the K8T vs Nforce 250GB at their highest stable over clocks. I think the K8T can maybe reach 220 HTT with some difficulties, while the 250 can reach 240HTT. Then lets see some benchmarks. Reply
  • amalinov - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    OK. Nvidia have not included SoundStorm in nf3, becouse it is cheaper to manufacture (and design) this way.

    Also I see that you have corrected the 6.1 to 6-channel.

    what about the "dual channel Ultra-version"?

    #16, It is posible to make a S939 dual-channel board with current nf3-250 (and also with nf3-150, SiS760, K8M800, K8T800, SiS755, ALi, AMD, etc. - ALL Opteron/A64 chipsets). Regarding PCI Express and PCI-X - they can be added to such board (based on existing chipset) too. for PCI-X - AMD8131 chip, for PCI Express - some not-yet-announced chip. Becouse of HyperTransport it is possible to combine nf3-250 with any other HT-tunnel controller supporting PCI-X, PCI Express and other interfaces.
    Another question is if some mobo manufacturer will do that. Becouse of cost reasons mobo manufacturers tend to make crimpled products not utilizing all chipset functions (nf3 with only 2 UATA channels instead of 3, etc.), so wanting even more than this seems unrealistic.
    Reply
  • amalinov - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    OK. Nvidia have not included SoundStorm in nf3, becouse it is cheaper to manufacture (and design) this way.

    Also I see that you have corrected the 6.1 to 6-channel.

    what about the "dual channel Ultra-version"?

    #16, It is posible to make a S939 dual-channel board with current nf3-250 (and also with nf3-150, SiS760, K8M800, K8T800, SiS755, ALi, AMD, etc. - ALL Opteron/A64 chipsets). Regarding PCI Express and PCI-X - they can be added to such board (based on existing chipset) too. for PCI-X - AMD8131 chip, for PCI Express - some not-yet-announced chip. Becouse of HyperTransport it is possible to combine nf3-250 with any other HT-tunnel controller supporting PCI-X, PCI Express and other interfaces.
    Another question is if some mobo manufacturer will do that. Becouse of cost reasons mobo manufacturers tend to make crimpled products not utilizing all chipset functions (nf3 with only 2 UATA channels instead of 3, etc.), so wanting even more than this seems unrealistic.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    #12 -
    We did not say Sound Storm could not be included on a single-chip, we said there was only so much real-estate PRACTICALLY available on a single chip. As complexity goes up, yields generally go down - raising the price of a chipset. This is a competetive market.

    The next line in the review mentioned that nVidia is working on other sound solutions which may be included in a future chipset or separate card. This may be the most important reason why we did not see Sound Storm in nF3-250.
    Reply
  • Brickster - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Can one expect the following from nf3-250?

    -939 Mobo
    -DualChannel
    -PCI-X

    Any other chipsets for this?
    Reply
  • amalinov - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    "Certainly, we will see 4 DIMMs, or two matched pairs, on the dual-channel nForce3-250Gb Ultra version of this chipset."

    again totaly unconnected with reality.
    in A64/Opteron the chipset has nothing to do with memory support. How much DIMMs are supported depends on CPU, mainboard and BIOS ONLY!
    There will be NO DUAL CHANNEL nf3-250Gb-Ultra. Just like nf3-250Gb IS NOT SINGLE CHANNEL.
    There will be DUAL CHANNEL S939 Athlon64 CPU.

    Also, another topic not well understood at Anandtech, Tom's, etc.: A64/Opteron FSB speed, HyperTransport speed, etc. - they (the writers) are mixing up clock frequency in MHz, data frequency in DDR and MHz, bandwith in GB/s. They think FSB and HyperTransport is the same thing. They think that HyperTransport is 800MHz (or maybe 200MHz "quadrupelt") - maybe becouse of similarity with P4. They think that their nf3-250Gb has a "250MHz FSB". They don't explain to the users on what depends the memory clock in a A64 system. They think that "Dual CPU support" is a feature of the chipset.
    Shame on you!
    Reply
  • Diogenes2 - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    I remain puzzled about the continuing declaration by Anandtech about the lack of AGP locks on NF3-150 boards..

    I have no way to confirm it ( with O-Scope, etc. )at this time, but I am running 265 FSB on my Gigabyte GA-K8NPRO, and having no problems with my Saphire 9800 Pro.. This was not the case with the KT800 board I experimented with for a while, which would not tolerate an FSB above 225, as far as AGP was concerned..


    I recommend that when the NF3-250 boards hit the shelves, buyers take advantage of price drops on NF3-150 offerings.. I don't see the modest performance gains of the NF3-250 as anything to get excited about..
    Reply
  • amalinov - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    just 2 lines below, another error:
    "nVidia includes the hooks for AC '97 6.1 audio in nForce3-250"
    6.1? Don't you mean 5+1 ("6-channel 5.1")????
    OK. This can be a typo-mistake, but when you add all typos, totaly wrong infos, etc. - it is too much to bear!
    Reply
  • amalinov - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    "Even with the memory controller on the chip, there is only so much real estate practically available on a single-chip chipset. "
    What???? This is not true! Where did you get such information?

    SiS745, anyone? Single Chip: AGP+DDR memroy+PCI+UATA+AC97+...
    also, current 0.13um, 0.15um is more advanced than SiS745.
    Other single chip: ALi M1689, SiS630, SiS540
    There IS enough real estate for a SoundStorm APU.
    The problem can be pin-count, but is not.
    Give us the area in mm2 and production technology in um of nforce3, nforce2 IGP, nforce2 MCP-T.... then can we speak.
    Also give for comparation other chipsets - north&south&singlechip, other CPUs, other GPUs... give numbers for total transistors, total pins...

    Generaly I think that the quality of articles in Anandtech and Tom's Hardware has declined VERY MUCH and is below acceptable now. Once these two were my favorite sites. Now I visit them only becouse they are big and so get the newest stuff and make MANY benchmarks. But if you need information about internals of a component and not its speed - they will most likely give you WRONG information. There are many other mistakes in mainboard and chipsets and other articles that start to annoy me...
    Reply
  • tagej - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    I do not find it surprising at all that most customers don't care about the sound storm stuff. After all, the vast majority of PC users (outside of the geek market of course) have their PC hooked up to $9.99 basic speakers -- sound storm is not going to make a difference at all, and is simply not a selling point.

    The 250Gb certainly looks sweet at this point... I'll be watching closely to see how the first retail boards do.
    Reply
  • aak97 - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Just wanna know, did the nForce3-250Gb ref board comes with any WinXP 64bits drivers? I'm sure a lot of people (including myself) will be interested in some benchmarks on the Preview version of WinXP 64bits. Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    #4,

    The "customer" in the survey probably refers to nVidia's largest OEM like HP, eMachine etc. These companies only care about save a few $$ and probably only chose nForce2 without SoundStorm.

    #7,

    The whole point of SoundStorm is to use Dolby Digital encoding and output everything throught digital sound output where analog codec chip does not get in to the play. If you use analog ouput, you will be better of with a sound card.
    Reply
  • KHysiek - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Now with Intel adding Azalia high lever audio to it's boards NVidia looks clearly dumb with it's chipset w/o Soundstorm. Reply
  • clemedia - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    "On the other hand, Soundstorm offers high quality 3d audio rendering, but it is _ALWAYS_ paired with that SAME crappy Realtek ALC650 chip, which offers lousy analog output quality"

    Apparently you COMPLETLY overlooked the fact that most (all, AFAIK) SoundStorm boards offered digital output which bypassed those codec's completly. Which just happens to be EXACTLY what I use, and was a major selling point, allowing me to send out my DD/DTS signal to my amp for DVD's as I use for regular computer use. VERY handy.

    I would have no problem switching to something else if they offed a good DICE solution. (I think C-media makes a software DICE chip, but I would rather go with something better)
    Reply
  • Odeen - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Quote:
    "the best audio Intel offered (on-board) at the time was the crappy Realtek Codec"

    Wrong.

    Intel offered a software audio solution. I.E. the chipset basically offloaded audio calculations to the CPU. Thus, the 3d audio rendering was crappy, true.

    However, Realtek is not the only manufacturer of codec chips, just the cheapest. Boards from Intel and Asus have very nice ADI Soundmax chips with pretty good audio output quality.

    On the other hand, Soundstorm offers high quality 3d audio rendering, but it is _ALWAYS_ paired with that SAME crappy Realtek ALC650 chip, which offers lousy analog output quality. I'd personally love to see Soundstorm coupled with a higher-end analog stage, such as a Sigmatel codec chip on an outboard card (ACR form factor, for instance).

    And RAID-5 will be in-chipset when chipsets become as powerful as CPU's and average consumers will be taught to buy three or more drives. That is, never - RAID-5 is not for benchmarkers, and anyone with a "Type R" sticker, it's slower than RAID-0, but is obviouly far more secure, and wastes less disk than RAID1. It's a specialized feature for people who realize its value and want to spend the money to implement it.. it'd raise the chipset price by quite a bit, and is thus better off to left to an add-on card.

    The other thing is, due to sensitive nature of RAID-5 (i.e. it's harder to implement than a software RAID-0 or RAID-1 that cheap PCI add-on cards and southbridges now offer) people who have the money to spend on RAID-5 will want a solution from people they trust, i.e. Adaptec or the likes.. They wouldn't accept trusting their precious data to a company that makes their son's gee-whiz video card :)
    Reply
  • mkruer - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    I want to know when we are going to see RAID-5 in a chipset, for average consumers. Reply
  • Sahrin - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    <i>Customer surveys by nVidia found that most buyers did not use Sound Storm</i>

    I just can't believe that. I remember Soundstorm being a *huge* selling point for all kinds of people. When it came down to Intel v. AMD (especially when there were only "b" rev chips) Soundstorm was often the deciding factor; the best audio Intel offered (on-board) at the time was the crappy Realtek Codec. A lot of people made decisions to go with AXP-nForce 2 MCP-T boards over a comparable Intel package because of Soundstorm. (I know the Enthusiast market is still just a tiny sliver of sales, even for a chipset company like nVidia but I can't be convinced that this wasn't because Soundstorm is as good or better than products from Creative and/or M-Audio).
    Reply
  • Cygni - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    ^^ btw, there are only 3 boards offered with the 755 on newegg... ECS 755 A1 and A2, and the ASrock k8s8x. Reply
  • Cygni - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    Looks better than the 150... but SiS is really kickin a$$. I wish the market would embrace the 755 more so we could see a better range of solutions based on it. Reply
  • wicktron - Monday, March 29, 2004 - link

    any clue as to when production boards will hit the market? Reply

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