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NVIDIA nForce2: new era of Athlon XP chipsets

As I´ve already reported today, NVIDIA has officially announced the next-generation integrated chipset for Athlon XP/ Duron — nForce2 (former Crush17/18).

Let me describe some of its features.

Of course, the new nForce2 is interesting with DDR SDRAM support, including still non-standardized DDR400. Another pleasant component is the MCP (Media Communication Processor) featuring IEEE 1394, USB 2.0, Ultra ATA/133 support, and unusual dual Ethernet controllers.

Currently nForce2 family features two Northbridges: discrete nForce2-ST or nForce2-GT with integrated GeForce4 MX GPU. I must admit that IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) of new nForce-GT has been considerably improved to provide better perofrmance than GeForce2 of the previous nForce. The new built-in GeForce4 MX GPU operates at 250 MHz and supports DirectX 8. During the presentation NVIDIA announced some impressive test results of new nForce2 boards. Here´s a couple of them, and more detailed performance results is to be available from our test lab.

The motherboards based on this chipset also feature AGP 8 slot that can be used not only for an add-in card, but also for DVI/TV Riser Card promoted by NVIDIA, that enables DVI and TV jacks, respectively.

Besides, the Southbridge or MCP (Media Communication Processor) will also have two modifications:

IEEE 1394 +
USB 2.0 + +
IDEUltra ATA/133Ultra ATA/133
AC´97 + +

So, there are four variants of nForce 2 South/Northbridge configurations.

The following nForce2 motherboards were presented at the press conference:

  • A7N8X from ASUSTeK — nForce2-ST solution
  • NV7II-8x from ABIT — nForce2-ST solution, RAID controller,
  • EP-8RDA+ from EPoX — nForce2-ST solution
  • EP-8RGA+ from EPoX — nForce2-GT solution
  • Apogee 7NJS from Chaintech — nForce-GT solution
  • 7NIF1 from Chaintech — Micro ATX, nForce2-GT solution
  • K7N2 from MSI — nForce2-GT solution

Shuttle Computer has not only shown its nForce2 board, but also presented a complete barebone solution.

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