When nVidia launched the nForce3-250Gb chipset last month, we were very impressed with the feature set that nVidia had built into the chipset. The nForce3 basically went from the worst feature set for Athlon 64 (nForce3-150) to a leading edge checklist of unique features like on-chip Gigabit LAN, on-chip Firewall, and "Any-Drive" RAID that could combine SATA and IDE drives. You can see those details in our 2-part article on the nForce3-250:

nForce3-250 - Part 1: Taking Athlon 64 to the Next Level
nForce3-250 - Part 2: Taking Athlon 64 to the Next Level

nVidia told us at the nF3-250 launch that we would also see an update to the nForce2 chipset for the Athlon XP. This sounded good, but we were skeptical whether or not nVidia would really invest in updating the nF2 to the nF3-250 feature-set with all of the future movements aimed at Athlon 64. Perhaps the impetus was VIA's recent launch of their dual-channel KT880 chipset. nVidia has dominated the Athlon XP chipset market since the launch of nForce2, and it is clear that both VIA and nVidia believe that there will still be many sales of Socket A motherboards.

Whatever the push, nVidia has done exactly what they promised. The new nVidia Socket A chipset is called nForce 2 Ultra 400Gb, and it incorporates all of the major features first introduced with the nForce3-250Gb chipset. For Socket A lovers, this is very good news. It means that the very reasonable Socket A Athlons can now find a home in a motherboard that gives up very little to the top Athlon 64 chipsets.

A Closer Look at nForce2 Ultra 400Gb


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  • vkristof - Monday, May 24, 2004 - link

    Does anybody know when any Ultra 400GB MBs will be available for purchase? Reply
  • plonk420 - Thursday, May 20, 2004 - link

    i mainly want to see Xvid tests in addition to Divx, since Divx is HEAVILY weighted in Intel's favor. plus it's pretty decently superior to Divx ^_^ and there's no excuse, now that Xvid's gone one-point-oh Reply
  • Gandalf90125 - Monday, May 17, 2004 - link

    "Performance on shipping boards will be the same as any other nForce 2 Ultra 400 board - this is about added features."

    Consequently, it could be argued that the benchmarks are pointless.
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, May 15, 2004 - link

    #9 - We actually do more overclocking tests at AnandTech today than we have ever done in the past. Check our recent reviews of motherboards where we reach 347 FSB or memory where we test at DDR570.

    We always test OC on full retail reviews, but the chipset in the review is well known here. This is also a Reference Board - not designed to test overclocking since there are no ratios. We did test OC on the VIA K8T800 PRO Reference Board because the PCI/AGP lock was a new feature on that chipset. However the core chipset capabilities are well know here and there seemed little point to doing OC tests, when the capabilities of the nForce2 Ultra 400 are already well known. 400Gb is a features upgrade using a new MCP (or southbridge), not a new chipset.
  • noxipoo - Friday, May 14, 2004 - link

    Does anandtech do overclocking tests anymore? where is anand these days Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Friday, May 14, 2004 - link

    #6 - With chipset introductions and Reference Boards we expected you would be more interested in where they "fit" overall, which is why the Athlon 64 comparisons.

    You can't buy a Reference Board, and the nForce2 Ultra 400 SPP is the same chip used by nVidia for months. So, there is really nothing new in performance here.

    Performance on shipping boards will be the same as any other nForce 2 Ultra 400 board - this is about added features.
  • GokieKS - Friday, May 14, 2004 - link

    Even though the GbE is a great feature (thanks to 2 875P systems, I've already got a GbE network set up, and I can't imagine going back to 100Mbps), I'm more interested in the older nF2 boards with MCP-T, which hopefully will drop in price because of this, to be paired with something like an AXP-M 2400+. :)

  • Jeff7181 - Thursday, May 13, 2004 - link

    Not to be an ass, but what good is it to compare this to Athlon 64 boards? That tells me absolutely nothing about whether I should buy it to replace my A7N8X Deluxe or not. I see a few tests were done with an nForce2 motherboard... yay. There shouldn't be ANY socket 754, 940, or 939 boards in this review since they use entirely different processors.
    Hey... why didn't ya throw in some Intel 865 chipset mobo's in there for comparision too?

    ... I'm confused... all this tells me is that an Athlon-64 solution is most likely going to be better than sticking with socket A... and I didn't need to read this article to figure that out, I thought it was a well known fact.
  • Gromis - Thursday, May 13, 2004 - link

    #3, but how often do people upgrade CPUs anyway? I'm a tech in a PC shop, and from what I see, not a whole lot. By the time you start thinking about upgrades, you find yourself in a market for a complete new PC anyway. Those who upgrade every 6-12 months are an extremely tiny minority. I myself used a PII/350 for nearly 5 years, swapped it for a Duron 1200 a year ago, planning next upgrade in another 8-9 months - most likely A64 by then. Reply
  • hifisoftware - Thursday, May 13, 2004 - link

    Nice article, but when will we see motherboards with this chipset? It is going to take 3+ month for them to come out then it is a not very usefull chipset. Reply

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