We have to wonder what is going on at NVIDIA these days. Of all the companies we have dealt with over the years, they seemed to always be the most aggressive when promoting or launching a new product. As of late, we have seen a kinder, gentler NVIDIA when it comes to the marketing of new products. Who knows, maybe Jen-Hsun Huang is out searching for his thousand points of light or life in San Jose is just a little more relaxed than it used to be a few months ago?

Whatever is happening over at Mean Green (Ed: tm?), we are starting to worry that we might miss a really interesting new product launch with the current soft sell approach. Don't get us wrong, we would rather have laid back product announcements and launch activities than having a marching band, balloons, and a three ring circus show up in our offices any day. However, a little tap on the head or nudge in the right direction every once in awhile when an interesting product shows up would be nice.

We almost missed the product we are previewing today. Sure, we saw the press announcements for the nF560 chipset back at Computex and even noticed a couple of early production samples in the various supplier booths. However, the first products based on the nF560 just sort of showed up at our doorsteps a couple of weeks ago without any fanfare. We thought maybe it was just a product update or replacement for the nF520 (another silent introduction) but it turns out to be the true replacement for the nF550.

We would love to show you a block diagram of the nForce 560 chipset but it is not available yet. However, the actual specification for the nForce 560 chipset is available from NVIDIA. The short story is that the nForce 560 is designed for the mainstream market with a motherboard price target in the $70~$80 range. The nForce 560 offers an expanded feature set over the nForce 520 and 550, including GPU Optimizations for the GeForce 7300GT, 7600GS and 8500GT cards, FirstPacket network technology, and the addition of RAID 5 capability. In terms of I/O features, the nF560 offers four SATA 3Gb/s ports, two PATA ports, one GigE port, ten USB 2.0, and up to four PCI Express slots (1x16,3x1).

The nForce 560 technically offers one less PCIe lane than the nF550, and one less PCIe link; however, it makes up for this by being a single chip solution - one less chip to worry about cooling. While the nForce 520 and 560 officially support the upcoming AM2+ processors, they will not provide HyperTransport 3.0 or split power-plane capabilities.

The nForce 560 has been in the market for about a month now and is currently featured on the Biostar TF560 A2+ motherboard that we are previewing today. (Don't let the name confuse you: while the board supports AM2+ CPUs - like many AM2 boards will after a BIOS update - it is still a standard AM2 platform.) Our article will concentrate primarily on the overclocking capabilities of the board with the AMD X2 BE-2300 and Athlon 64 X2 3800+ processors. NVIDIA and Biostar just provided a new performance BIOS update along with new drivers that include the GPU optimizations. We will provide full test results and a features recap in an upcoming AM2 article.

From a general performance viewpoint, this particular chipset and board combination offer performance levels that are a little better than current NVIDIA 7050 and AMD 690G offerings. On the higher end, this board/chipset are typically equal to or slightly under the nF590/570 SLI boards. Let's take a quick look at the overclocking capabilities of the Biostar TF560 A2+ now.

AM2 Overclocking on the Cheap


View All Comments

  • DeepThought86 - Friday, August 10, 2007 - link

    elpresidente2075 is probably a 15-year old who thinks newer is better by definition. It'll be a decade or more before he learns critical thinking Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    Plus once PATA is gone maybe we can get more SATA ports. 4 is a bare minimum. Reply
  • takumsawsherman - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    Is that Firewire is still not standard. For the couple of bucks it costs to add it to a board, can we fricking add it already? It should have been standard years ago, and considering how cheaply one can get a card, it can't cost all that much to implement. Meanwhile, there's no apparent rhyme or reason to which systems have it and which don't. I've seen cheap HP's that have it, and expensive ones that don't. It's all over the map. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    Or just eliminate it entirely. With USB2 and eSATA, is there really a need for another external interface standard? Reply
  • flipmode - Friday, August 3, 2007 - link

    Firewire is worth keeping and making standard. It's the easiest way to network two computers. It's how almost every video camera downloads video to computers. Reply
  • Myrandex - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    The specs said that the chipset supported 2 PATA ports, however there is only 1 slot on the board. So it only supports 2 drives, or did Biostar decide to save $.005 in not putting the 2nd connector on the board? Reply
  • 8steve8 - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    this is regarded as the industry's first AM2+ board, i assume this means pheonom will plop right in? so does it support HT3?... seperate power planes?
    how will boards do that with just a bios update?

    will this, and other current boards work with phenom, but not at full potential?

  • Spoelie - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    Read the article instead of commenting right away.

    No, it is not a AM2+ board, it doesn't have any of the AM2+ features, but phenom would normally plop right in yes.

    Am a bit disappointed with the feature set, my 3 years old nforce4 ultra has the same amount of sata, pata, usb, gige, etc.
  • shuffle2 - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    "No, it is not a AM2+ board, it doesn't have any of the AM2+ features, but phenom would normally plop right in yes."
    We realize it doesn't have HT3 or split power lanes, however, the question still stands:
    will this board support phenom with only a bios update?
  • Spuke - Saturday, August 4, 2007 - link

    Since this is technically NOT an AM2+ board, when are the AM2+ boards coming out? I'd like to buy one. Reply

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