The nForce4 Family

The nVidia Reference Board was shipped with the nForce4 Ultra chipset. The features of the nForce4 chipset family should be very familiar to nForce3-250 users, since it builds upon the feature set of the nForce3-250 family that was introduced in April. All of the new nForce4 chipsets support 20-lane PCI Express, native Gigabit Ethernet (on-chip), full nVidia RAID features, 10 USB 2.0 ports, nVidia Firewall 2.0, and the new nTune Performance utility. From there, however, the 3 members in the new nForce4 family differ a bit in features depending on the target market for the chipset.

nForce4 - the basic value chipset for 939 and754. This is the chipset that you will likely find in Socket 754 and low-end Socket 939 boards selling for less than $100. The nF4 is targeted at value boards, but it still includes on-chip gigabit Ethernet capabilities, support for 10 USB, full nVidia "any drive" Raid capabilities, support for nVidia Firewall 2.0, and support for the nTune Performance Utility. Four SATA drives are supported at current 1.5GB/s speeds plus four PATA (IDE) devices. The big disadvantage of the vanilla nF4 chipset is that it only supports 800 Hyper Transport. In addition, the HT bus is locked on the basic nF4 to prevent overclocking of the Hyper Transport. This means that the basic nForce4 is not a good choice for the enthusiast, who is better served by the Ultra and SLI chipsets.

nForce4 Ultra - the mainstream nF4 designed for boards that will sell in the $100 to $150 price range. In addition to nF4 features, you will find full support for an unlocked 1000 Hyper Transport, support for 3Gb/s SATA drives, and nVidia's secure networking engine, which is called ActiveArmor.

nForce4 SLI - the high-end version of the nF4 is designed for boards that will sell at $150 or more. The nF4 SLI is the only version to support programmable PCI Express lanes, which allows the use of either a single or dual Video Card. A single GPU is supported by an x16 PCIe slot, which can be reprogrammed to two x8 PCIe slots to support two video cards in SLI mode. All features are, otherwise, the same as nForce4 Ultra.

Index SLI Performance


View All Comments

  • AlphaFox - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I take it no one here has used soundstorm with doom3: crackling and cutting out, having to reset the sound all the time. pain in the butt, how is it great?? Reply
  • jm0ris0n - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I still think that Anyone who would want SLI-PCIe WOULD NOT use onboard sound. Reply
  • Viper96720 - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Ah i see I thought that was agp it is the 16x pci-e. Reply
  • LotoBak - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    55 -
    I take it your refering to this pic

    That long slot is NOT agp. It is PCIe 16x. The two above it are PCIe 4x I believe (could be wrong on the 4x)
  • jediknight - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    nVidia's decision to dump SoundStorm makes no sense. If it was a business decision because the OEMs and media (??) as an earlier posted pointed out.. how can they justify the extra expense of SLI? What OEM is going to use that high-end tech? (Hint: Not Alienware.. they've got their own stuff)

    The same people who want SLI want SoundStorm.. these enthusiasts are nVidia's core business (not by sales volume, by prestige, reputation, etc. in the marketplace) and not listening to your customers is a bad idea in my book..
  • jm0ris0n - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I could care less about the soundstorm :-p

    *Drool@SLI goodness :-D*
  • Viper96720 - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    #45 the board has AGP in case you didn't notice the long brown slot next to the PCI. The 2 small ones right above the audio is the PCI-E. Reply
  • RebolMan - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    The reason soundstorm is nice is because it outpreforms "real" cards - thus leading to better enjoyment of said games by soaking up less CPU time!

    It produces a _better_ gaming experience in terms of sound, and still gets better frame-rates than a PC equipped with a SB Audigy Platinum Pro!


    Why don't vendors pay as much attention to "APU" performance as they do to GPU performance?
  • RebolMan - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    BAH! Where's my SoundStorm!!!?!?!? Reply
  • Aquila76 - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    #44 - That dual SLI board (page 3) looks like an MSI (VIA chipset? has an Envy controller at top) board, not the nForce4 SLI reference board. The nVidia reference board design may be different. Reply

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