We have had very extensive coverage on PCIe solutions from VIA and SiS, and today we complete the circle with some in depth information from NVIDIA's CK8-04; a chipset many have already decided to call nForce4. NVIDIA takes a firm stance in its roadmaps that this next revision of core logic will not use the nForce4 misnomer, so we will continue to call it CK8-04 until NVIDIA calls it something else. We first saw CK8-04 at Computex in June - and even then it supported dual PEG adaptors.

As expected, CrushedK8-04 will come in three flavors, CK8-04 SLI, CK8-04 Ultra and CK8-04. The Ultra and SLI chipsets are simply improvements upon one another, with the SLI chipset being the highest end solution. Vanilla flavored CK8-04 is very much the same as nForce3 250Gb, with the addition of 7.1 high definition audio and PCI Express. We also get four SATA 150 ports. RAID, 10 USB ports. Gigabit Ethernet and a hardware firewall.

The Ultra revision makes things a little more interesting; offering SATA 3Gb/s and an obscure device called the Secure Networking Processor. NVIDIA claims the "processor" enhances networking security, reduces CPU overhead and contains specialized features that defend against hacker attacks. Although we will have to see it to believe it, this journalist suspects it is probably nothing more than a tweaked ruleset for QoS and *maybe* some denial of service protection (hopefully outbound as well as inbound).

Finally, the SLI version of CK8-04 ties everything together with an additional switching PEG solution. Even though the CK8-04 only supports 20 PCIe lanes, NVIDIA's elegant graphic solution runs 16 lanes into what appears to be a separate switching bridge chip. This bridge can be electrically configured to either run all 16 lanes to one PEG interface, or 8 lanes to two PEG interfaces. Remember, PCIe supports 250MBps per lane, so as long as the video card can electrically support itself on 8 lanes, the theoretical 2GBps (full duplex) per video card of a dual x8 configuration is more than enough for upcoming video card solutions for many revisions to come. Current 8X AGP solutions run at 2.1GBps (half duplex) video bandwidth without coming in reach of taxing out the bus.

NVIDIA makes note in the roadmap that the Ultra and Non-Ultra revisions will only support single CPUs. We can only assume the SLI version will not widely be marketed for multiple Opterons, but it sure would be nice to give AMD and VIA some competition in that field. Samples of the new cores are shipping now and should launch early September. In reality, we probably won't see working cores for a few weeks still, but definitely expect to see boards on the shelves before Q3 is out.



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  • RyanVM - Thursday, August 26, 2004 - link

    So is this audio controller Soundstorm2 or not? Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - link

    Seems less and less companies are making items for firewire and most people buy items with USB2.0 now. So no point in adding something most will not use.

    BUT GOOD sound, Sata, ethernet, etc... are things everybody can use.
  • ceefka - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - link

    No IEEE 1394?? Maybe I'm ignorant and those always come with add-on chips. Wouldn't this be a great opportunity to integrate IEEE 1394 a/b? Reply
  • ceefka - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 - link

    7.1 audio : onboard 96KHz or 192KHz /24bits ? Reply
  • gtech41 - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    32 - You don't need to install the IDE drivers as part of the nForce package if you don't want to. Non-MS IDE drivers have been problematic for everyone, regardless of the chipset. Even Intel gave up on the regular IAA last year. Reply
  • Anemone - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    First off using the default MS IDE drivers can only be done if skipping the Nforce drivers, seems to me that would be kind of a bandaid since you'd be sacrificing performance to fix a basic problem.

    Not having heard of Iwill? Well in the server world they are rather large.

    If you click on the link for the Google search you'll find that some of the links refer to this commentary going on in AT forums. I'm not sure how much more major or close to home the issue has to get. Maybe a search on said forums would be a good idea.

    Can AT reproduce the problem? Has it been tried? Is AT using the MS IDE drivers to avoid problems?

    Curious - thought there would be more mental curiousity on this one rather than a "no that couldn't possible be true" responses. But I'll take your thoughts in since maybe you are correct.
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    The Iwill board is real, i saw it at Computex. Iwill is pretty large in Taiwan, i think they made the dual opteron CK8-04 reference board.

    But anyways yeah that raid thing is kind of dumb.

  • danidentity - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    First off, I've never even heard of that review site (Burning Issues). Second, they're reviewing an IWill board, not exactly a large and well known mobo manufacturer.

    I haven't heard of any nF3 issues based on reviews of boards by Asus, Abit, MSI, etc. on well-known review sites.
  • gtech41 - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    #28 - That review is incorrect. nForce3 supports parallel emulation of SATA drives, so as long as you're not a RAID-using moron you can use the default MS IDE drivers. It works the same as on an Intel platform. Reply
  • Anemone - Monday, August 23, 2004 - link

    Check the review for details and link to a query showing a broader view of the "issue".


    btw the note on it is on pg 4 and links to a google search for more details :)

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