NVIDIA Business Platform Features

HP, Dell, Gateway, and the majority of tier-one OEMs have been offering various forms of stable image platforms through their business, education, or government solutions groups in recent years. As the complexity and size of enterprise level networks grew, along with the proliferation of networks in other sectors, it became apparent that a different level of integration between hardware and software was required. So, in mid-2003, Intel formally stepped into this market segment with their Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP), and following Intel's tremendous success, AMD introduced their Commercial Stable Image Platform (CSIP) in September of 2005.

The NVIDIA Business Platform being launched next week is designed and built around the company's graphics chipset and media/communications processors while utilizing an approved AMD Athlon 64 processor based upon the AMD CISP specifications. This desktop-only platform design provides additional value to the AMD CSIP program by instituting a stable image program, comprehensive certification program of the Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) and System Builder, along with partnerships with leading software providers. By certifying systems, components, and software down to the motherboard and chip level, NVIDIA is promising to have superior hardware performance and software quality out-of-the-box when compared to Intel's current desktop SIPP offerings. Additional specifications about the NVIDIA Business Platform can be viewed here.

Highlights of the program include the NVIDIA Stable Image Platform design that defines the software foundation of the NVIDIA Business Platform. It combines drivers for graphics, audio, networking, storage, and other media & communication processor functionality into a single binary image. NSIP guarantees a single binary image deployment across all platforms, regardless of integrated or discrete graphic configurations. This differs from Intel's image certification which is for integrated graphics only at this time.

Also, NVIDIA offers the only hardware-based firewall solution for a stable image platform, with NVIDIA stating their unique anti-hacking technology will secure each PC from network intrusion. We have not tested this claim and are awaiting a test system to verfiy this feature. Hardware-based firewall technology protects PCs at the network layer from most virus, worm, and spyware attacks. Unlike software-based firewall solutions, ActiveArmor cannot be disabled by malicious code according to NVIDIA. NVIDIA worked closely with Microsoft and Altiris to ensure their new ActiveArmor Firewall allows remote management traffic while still protecting against malware. Wake-on-LAN, PXE, and Firewall filtering is built into the network interface hardware to enable full remote management of the PC provided a network connection and power source is available.

Like competitive offerings, the NVIDIA Business Platform offers a stable technology platform that is released on a yearly cadence with at least one year of production availability. This program includes a 3-month evaluation period along with a 24-month support period after the production cycle. The support is provided by the certified system builder of the platform.

Index AMD Commercial Stable Image Platform
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  • nordicpc - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    MSI is shipping their K8NGM2-NBP board currently, as this link to Newegg will show: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82...">Newegg Link

    Basically, all I can tell is that MSI dropped the firewire from the K8NGM2-FID and rebadged it. Hopefully the FID won't dissapear as firewire is actually pretty useful in the HTPC crowd where this board does very nicely.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_30667.html">http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_30667.html Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    [quote]
    Also , NVIDIA offers the only hardware-based firewall solution for a stable image platform, with a unique anti-hacking technology that secures each PC from network intrusion. Hardware-based firewall technology protects PCs at the network layer from most virus, worm, and spyware attacks. Unlike software-based firewall solutions, ActiveArmor cannot be disabled by malicious code.
    [/quote]
    Isn't this just 'copy/pasted' from nVidia's propaganda?
    If a virus is able to disable your firewall, you're screwed already, ActiveArmor or no ActiveArmor.
    And as far as I know, it is possible to disable ActiveArmor in software.
    Reply
  • BigLan - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    The 'active armor' stuff is pure BS. It's been broken on the nforce4 for a long, long time with no official comment from Nvidia. I don't know what type of corporation is going to adopt a platform which corrupts all zip file downloads.

    Shame on Anandtech for not calling nvidia out on this.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Shame on Anandtech for not calling nvidia out on this.
    Where are the results of your testing on these new platforms to support your accusations?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    Going with this comment, remember that nForce 6150/6200 != nForce4. Something else I have to wonder: are those corrupt Zip files occuring for everyone, or just overclockers, or perhaps only on misconfigured systems? I don't know. I use a NAT/Router and don't bother with the NVIDIA Firewall stuff, but I suppose if a virus ever got loose in my home network I might be in for some trouble. Luckily, the only user on my network is me, and I'm pretty sure I know what I'm doing. Most businesses can't make that claim. :)

    How will this platform fare in reality? That's a good question. Obviously, it doesn't matter much if NVIDIA provides a "stable" platform if they don't get partners that properly support the initiative. I don't think that will be a problem, as there should be plenty of system integrators looking for some new ways to market/sell AMD platforms. It sounds decent on paper, at least, and they do have some good features
    Reply
  • BigLan - Friday, March 31, 2006 - link

    I saw it first hand on a dfi lanparty Ultra. Checksum offloading/active armor would corrupt every zip/archive file downloaded. This was on a fresh build with two identical systems. Since then, I've never turned it back on for any of the systems I've built. It would be nice if a large tech website did an investigation into it to maybe get nvidia to admit the problem was hardware, or fix their drivers. ;) Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, March 31, 2006 - link

    quote:

    I saw it first hand on a dfi lanparty Ultra. Checksum offloading/active armor would corrupt every zip/archive file downloaded. This was on a fresh build with two identical systems. Since then, I've never turned it back on for any of the systems I've built. It would be nice if a large tech website did an investigation into it to maybe get nvidia to admit the problem was hardware, or fix their drivers. ;)


    We have investigated this issue several times. We can recreate certain data corruption scenarios while utilizing P2P software, streaming multiple downloads, and then trying to decompress these same files concurrently. We were able to solve or greatly minimize these issues through driver changes or software configurations, though eliminating the use of P2P seemed to work best. ;-) NVIDIA has worked extensively with several of our readers who had issues and solved them. At this time we have one reader who is still having issues after working directly with NVIDIA but the communication cylce just started on his issue.

    The latest driver sets from NVIDIA have made changes to the way ActiveArmor handles TCP checksumming in their hardware by offloading more to the CPU, which has increased CPU utilization rates but they are still lower than most Gigabit solutions. These changes have certainly cleared the majority of issues noticed by most users we have communicated with over the last month. The other issue we have noticed is in the initial installation of the ActiveArmor firewall software, some program settings are not correct or clearly defined based upon the system configuration, and this is an area that needs improvement from NVIDIA in the installation scripts. The lack of technical information in most user manuals for setting up ActiveArmor is also not acceptable in our opinion.

    The next version of ActiveArmor software along with some hardware tweaks in the upcoming nForce 500 chipsets should solve any outstanding issues.

    NVIDIA will be sending us a complete Stable Image Platform system shortly and we will put it through its paces while providing a short "How To" article on setting up or correcting issues within the ActiveArmor software suite.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    With an announcement of a new program, we do depend on the press announcement and briefings for information on the new product. Until nVidia Business Platforms are available in June, this is the only way to bring this information to IT professionals. However, this review goes a lot further than that by comparing nVidia and Intel Business Platform programs.

    Gary also details, for the first time, information on the 2006 Intel Stable Business Platform which will include Conroe and Broadwater.
    Reply
  • DanaGoyette - Thursday, March 30, 2006 - link

    quote:

    unique anti-hacking technology that secures each PC from network intrusion

    You mean BSODs whenever you install the NAM and data corruption if you enable network adapter offloading?

    I have no experience with these, but Google will tell you that plenty of people do.
    Reply

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