AMD Opteron Coverage - Part 1: Intro to Opteron/K8 Architectureby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 23, 2003 3:03 AM EST
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Opteron Chipsets Continued - Introducing nForce3 Professional
Talk about taking everyone by surprise, NVIDIA has marked an early entry into the K8 chipset market with their nForce3 Pro chipset.
A single chip solution, the nForce3 Pro is aimed at the 1P Opteron workstation/enthusiast market - and yes, the chipset does have an integrated AGP 8X controller.
Launching today is the nForce3 Pro 150; since the Opteron already has the memory controller taken care of, NVIDIA really only had to integrate their AGP, Ethernet, IDE and sound controllers on a single chip to make the chipset complete. The nForce3 Pro 150 features 8X AGP support, NVIDIA's 10/100 MAC (virtually identical to what's in the nForce2) and basic AC'97 audio support (no APU). The Pro 150 supports three Ultra ATA 133 channels, with the third channel able to hook up to a Serial ATA bridge in order to bring non-native Serial ATA support to the chipset today. Because of the target market for the chipset, the nForce3 Pro 150 does not feature any integrated graphics.
This Fall you'll see the introduction of nForce3 Pro 250, with support for Gigabit Ethernet (NVIDIA's own Gigabit MAC) and Serial ATA (two ports native). The nForce3 Pro 250 will continue to be a single chip solution, and NVIDIA is stating that their internal pathways connecting the Gigabit controller to the Hyper Transport link will be wide/fast enough as not to be a bottleneck.
You can probably guess that the Athlon 64 chipset will most likely be called nForce3, with the Pro tag being reserved exclusively for the workstation market.
ASUS is NVIDIA's sole launch partner with nForce3 Pro and they will have boards available in the next two months.