Nvidia previews nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition

Launch later this month

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CeBIT 2005 Nvidia today "threatened" to release an Intel-oriented chipset product, but couldn't quite bring itself to announce the long-awaited nForce 4 for Intel just yet.

No, the chipset's formal unveiling will take place later this month, Drew Henry the chip maker's chipset products chief said. The company's CeBIT meeting was merely a preview.

Henry did at least reveal the product's official name: nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition. He also pledged the product would generate 3DMark 03 and 05 scores at 1600 x 1200 that are 70-75 per cent higher than any other Intel-oriented chipset.

The company also confirmed motherboard makers Asus, MSI, Foxconn, Epox, Gigabyte, ABIT, DFI and Biostar would be among the first firms to offer nForce 5 SLI Intel Edition boards.

According to market watcher Mercury Research, Nvidia's chipsets accounted for 48 per cent of the AMD Athlon 64 and Opteron motherboards that shipped in Q4 2004.

Henry added a detail or two: 1m nForce 4 chipsets have shipped in the last three months, of which 350,000 - 35 per cent - were SLI-enabled versions.

nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition will support the 1066MHz Pentium 4 frontside bus and PCI Express, Henry said. He did not address support for Intel's upcoming dual-core Pentium D, but that will undoubtedly be made clear at the chipset's formal launch. Ditto such Pentium-peculiar technologies like HyperThreading and Extended SpeedStep.

Its feature-set is likely to match that of the AMD product, though we're clearly looking at a product that incorporates the North Bridge functionality unnecessary in the AMD version because it's built into the CPU. MediaShield RAID technology, nTune, SerialATA support, and ActiveArmor TCP/IP processors and firewall protection will appear in the Intel Edition as it does in the AMD version.

Nvidia announced that it had licensed Intel's latest P4 bus technology in November 2004. ®

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