The Motherboards

For this comparison, we used production boards. From Intel, we have the Intel D955XBK and representing NVIDIA, we have the ASUS P5ND2-SLI Deluxe. 

While NVIDIA's nForce4 reference board still doesn't seem to have dual core support, ASUS' board does, so it looks like the chipset will have no problem supporting the Pentium D.  One problem that we have seen, however, is that neither NVIDIA's reference board nor ASUS' board support Intel's Thermal Monitor 2 specification at this time.  While NVIDIA insists that support for TM2 is coming, we are hearing from motherboard manufacturers that support for TM2 will only be there for single core processors.  If that ends up being true, that will be a huge downside for the nForce4 platform - TM2 significantly reduces heat output as well as fan noise on Intel platforms, both features that are much appreciated. 

Despite having numerous problems with their AMD SLI motherboard, the ASUS P5ND2-SLI Deluxe was flawless during our testing.  We had one problem with the system not POSTing, but a later BIOS revision fixed that issue. 


The Test

Note that this is a comparison of Intel platform chipsets. For a comparison of AMD and Intel CPUs, have a look at our latest CPU reviews.

Intel Pentium 4 Configuration
LGA-775 Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840
2 x 512MB Crucial DDR-II 667 Dual Channel DIMMs 4-4-4-15
Intel D955XBK 955X Motherboard
ASUS P5ND2-SLI nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Motherboard
ATI Radeon X800 XL PCI Express
NVIDIA GeForce 6800GT PCI Express
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 Plus (with NCQ)
Maxtor MaXLine III (with NCQ) for NCQ tests

NVIDIA’s nForce4 SLI Intel Edition Chipset Memory Performance
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  • mkruer - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    The only reason why Intel allowed Nvidia to make a chipset for them was for the SLI. Intel is worried, and rightfuly so that Nvidia's SLI sloution for AMD whould give AMD an advantage. Reply
  • Questar - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    "Honestly, Intel processors and even the platform haven’t been interesting since the introduction of Prescott. They have been too hot and poor performers, not to mention that the latest Intel platforms forced a transition to technologies that basically offered no performance benefits (DDR2, PCI Express)."

    Your opinion only, don't make this out to be fact.

    "at the end of the day, Intel would still be happier if there was no threat from companies like NVIDIA"

    nVidia (please print it correctly) is not a "threat" to Intel in the chipset market. They couldn't make a P4 chipset without a license from Intel. If Intel was threatened by them they wouldn't sell them a license. The purpose in licensing is give system builders more choice in design features.

    "However Intel’s chipset team has reason to worry; motherboard manufacturers weren’t happy with the 925/915 chipsets, and with a viable alternative in NVIDIA, we may very well have an opportunity for NVIDIA to start eating into Intel’s own chipset market share in a way that no other company has in the past"

    Intel probably makes as much net profit off the licensing of the nVidia chipset as they do selling thier own - after all thay don't have to design, build, ship or sell anything. So why would they be worried?

    Really Anand, you have to begin thinking these things trough.
    Reply
  • Houdani - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    Grrr, I should have noted that I was referring to the NCQ testing. Reply
  • Houdani - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    Anand: For the Intel DC Preview, what would you say was the queue depth during the various multitasking tests? I'm curious how today's test compares with how you tested the Intel DC in the preview.

    Also, is the relation between a depth of 8 versus a depth of 32 linear? Would there be any value in testing a depth somewhere in the middle, such as 16 and/or 24?

    Thanks yet again for the quality work!
    Reply
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    "NVIDIA does not support Intel’s HD Audio spec, so you’re stuck with AC’97 on the nForce4 SLI. "

    That's inexcusable for a $80 chipset, IMO.
    Reply
  • ksherman - Thursday, April 14, 2005 - link

    cool and all, but is there any variation of the Intel-based SLI vs the AMD Based SLI? Reply

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