Can you remember a couple of years ago? When you mentioned the name NVIDIA you'd only think of 3D accelerated graphics cards. Times certainly have changed. Graphics cards for consumers, professionals, the mobile market, laptop solutions, mainboard chipset, the list goes on and on. Two weeks ago NVIDIA finally launched another line of products officially, a SLI mainboard chipset compatible with Pentium 4 processors. "Finally!" I hear a lot of you say. Yeah indeed... finally. It seems to be quite difficult to penetrate the Intel chipset market. And when you do it, you should do it right the first time. Suffice to say that what we'll show you today is impressive stuff with platform integrated gadgets like storage management, hardware assisted firewall, RAID and some very fun features with software like nTune.
First off my apologies for this delayed article. Once the product was launched Europe it only had 3 set's available for review. 3 days after that launch we received a package from NVIDIA, a complete PC for all our test lovin'. However thanks to the kind and gentle treatment that is called UPS our first unit was damaged. The CPU cooler literally hung loose on the PC. And during movement... well you have a healthy imagination I guess. But enough of that, let's talk business.
So it was 2004, November if I'm not mistaken, when a press-release came in. NVIDIA announced a cross license agreement with Intel for multiple products and more important for the future, product generations. Exciting news for sure, but I did not expect that NVIDIA would have something ready so darn quickly. Intel and more importantly Intel's processors are a huge chunk of the processor market, which NVIDIA can now have a small chunk of. The first Pentium 4 mainboard chipset that they've released is of course the product we'll take for a quick spin today. The NVIDIA nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition, a high-end part. Why not nForce 5 you might ask? The Intel compatible platform as tested today shows many similarities to the AMD compatible nForce4 platform. It didn't make sense to change the naming while the technology was at the same level. And although today's tested product does have a few new advantages I have to agree that calling it an nForce 4 mainboard makes the most sense. Changes we should describe here have to be a somewhat innovative new memory controller abd the debut of NVIDIA's MediaShield Storage Technology.
Codename C19 - NVIDIA nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition
Our test board was of course equipped with Socket LGA775 for the newer 800 MHz FSB Pentium 4 and 1066MHz FSB Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processors. A board than can and must compete with Intel's flagship mainboard chipsets, the 925XE and new 955X (dual core processor). I'm goingto side-track here and say, as it is hardly described in the reviews I've seen and topic of a lot of discussion in our forums. Yes, nForce4 SLI Intel Edition is Pentium Dual Core ready. But although nForce4 SLI Intel Edition was designed for both ingle and dual core, it is board dependent and you should make sure to check with the motherboard manufacturer.
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