Anand goes West - November 2002 Industry Updateby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 5, 2002 2:40 AM EST
- Posted in
Getting aggressive with nForce2
With the original nForce one of the biggest problems was that NVIDIA had no discrete solutions available (without integrated graphics) making the chipset cost significantly more than VIA's KT266A and KT333. While NVIDIA later corrected the problem, the performance of the nForce platform at that point wasn't competitive enough with VIA's offerings.
Oh how things have changed; currently the nForce2 SPP with the regular MCP costs a total of $2 more than VIA's KT400. Looking back at our latest review of the nForce2 chipset, for significantly higher performance a $2 increase in manufacturing cost isn't bad at all. To the end user this means that nForce2 motherboards could theoretically be priced within $5 - 8 of their KT400 counterparts.
If you want the MCP-T with dual integrated Ethernet controllers and Firewire support then the cost differential increases to $4. The overall motherboard cost increases as the manufacturer now must include Firewire headers, making the total solution around $8 more than a competing KT400 board.
What's important to note here is that even the base nForce2 not only outperforms the KT400 but also offers vastly superior integrated Ethernet and audio engines for just $2 more; NVIDIA is being very aggressive with nForce2 and frankly, I like it.
Motherboard manufacturers are taking different approaches to integrating the nForce2 into their product lines; remember that the nForce2 competes directly with the KT400, so a bare nForce2 solution would theoretically cannibalize KT400 sales.
ASUS seems to be enjoying this possibility and is going to be aggressively pricing and promoting their nForce2 solutions. Other manufacturers however seem to be playing it safe and waiting on hearing feedback from their customers; interestingly enough, most of the major players don't anticipate much demand for nForce2. At only $2 more per chipset I'd expect nForce2 SPP to sell like hotcakes over the KT400, but stranger things have happened.
On the mobile side of things it doesn't look like nForce2 will be transitioning to a mobile platform anytime soon. The reasoning behind it is simple; AMD's mobile CPUs aren't exactly all that competitive with Intel's solutions. From a performance perspective they are, however in terms of battery life, form factor and low power operation they are not up to par with competing solutions from Intel (e.g. ULV P3 parts and the upcoming Banias processor). It is because of this that NVIDIA will be waiting until mobile Hammer before making aggressive moves into the mobile sector with their chipsets, which does make a lot of sense.