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NVIDIA nForce3 Pro 150 Chipset for AMD64 Platform


The distinguishing feature of all desktop chipsets for AMD64 processors is that they hardly affect the speed. Memory in such systems is connected directly to the processor, and the only "thick" data consumer, a video card, has its own sizeable memory. That is why data mostly circulate outside the chipset. The chipset serves rather a mediator between with the peripherals where functionality is more important than speed.

At the moment the products are based only on three chipsets for AMD64 processors: AMD 8000, NVIDIA nForce3 Pro and VIA K8T800, but we didn't have yet AMD 8000 based boards with the AGP port, that is why we will consider that there are only two desktop/workstation chipsets for the Athlon 64, Athlon 64 FX and Opteron: NVIDIA nForce3 Pro and VIA K8T800. 

Brief specifications of the nForce3 Pro 150:

  • NVIDIA IEEE 802.3 MAC (Media Access Controller) 
  • 10/100 BaseT Ethernet/Fast Ethernet supported
  • ACR and CNR interfaces
  • ASF 1.03 compatible
  • ACPI 2.0 supported
  • One HyperTransport FSB for PC connection, up to 3.6 GB/s
  • 3 UATA-133 channels
  • 6 USB 2.0 (OHCI) ports
  • AGP 8x bus supported
  • PCI 2.3 interface
  • Integrated audio codec, S/PDIF-out (stereo or AC-3)

Here's what we want to draw your attention to in NVIDIA's solution in comparison with VIA's chipset:

  • This is a single-chip solution which, unlike the VIA K8T800, has a classic two-bridge design;
  • Three UATA-133 channels (Parallel ATA) in contrast to two in the VIA chipset;
  • No Serial ATA support;
  • The promised support for RAID 0, 1, 0+1 is not realized yet on the driver level.

In general, this chipset looks a classic trial balloon for the new platform: if the platform proves to be viable, the later versions or modifications will be redesigned to meet users' requirements. 

Stanislav Garmatyuk (nawhi@ixbt.com)

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