Amid all the hustle and bustle surrounding the launch of the GeForce 7800 GT, nVIDIA has launched the chipset update nForce4 SLI The successful one, called the nForce4 SLI X16. In fact, the mention of this appears in the announcement of nVIDIA's first collaboration with computer company Dell through the launch of the XPS 600 which is the first computer of its kind in the world to use the new chipset. It is also the first Dell computer that does not use an Intel chipset and for nVIDIA this is an amazing achievement. Still, it's a bit strange to see how a company is willing to sacrifice the launch of what appears to be a technological innovation in order to highlight an issue that the majority believes is of much lower importance. As a result, it seems to be underestimating the importance of the new chipset and indeed most sites did not address the issue at all or in a very partial way.
The nForce4 chip family of all versions Launched this year, has helped nVIDIA establish itself as a leader in the chipset market in recent months. This family has brought back the SLI technology that allows the connection of two video cards in a PCIe bus, dividing the data processing load between the two and thus significantly improving performance. The main criticism of the nForce4 SLI was that it offers a limited number of PCIe lanes - up to only 20. As a result, when two video cards are connected in SLI configuration, each card is assigned only 8 lanes (X8) to give a total of 16 lanes (X16) which are allocated to the graphics channels. 16 independent lanes (X16) are assigned to it.
The new chipset is available in two versions, for AMD processors and Intel processors. In the version for AMD processors, nVIDIA switches to a model of a northern bridge and a southern bridge, which we are familiar with the chip systems of Intel and other companies. The MCP, which we know from the standard SLI version, is now becoming the southern bridge of the system which is connected to the SPP which is the northern bridge of the system. The connection is made via a HyperTransport link which is usually used to connect the chipset to the processor and accordingly the bandwidth between them is 8GB / sec. In total, this version has 38 paths, of which 32 are allocated to the graphics channels and the remaining 6 paths can be used for other PCIe connections to connect TV cards and more:
In the version for Intel processors, the use of a northern bridge and a southern bridge, which we already know from the version, continues.SLI Intel Edition But now a newer version of the southern bridge is being used. Here too the connection is made via a HyperTransport link and in total this version has 40 lanes of which 32 are assigned to the graphics channels and the remaining 8 lanes can be used for other PCIe connections to connect TV cards and more:
The launch of the new chipset also brings down prices:
As you can see nVIDIA is pushing the standard SLI version down to the mid-high market and along with launching cheaper graphics cards that support SLI it is lowering the cost required to assemble a system based on SLI technology. It pushes the Ultra version down to the mid-range market while creating a temporary overlap with the regular nForce4 version. And finally, the standard nForce4 version is pushed down to the low market where it finds its place alongside the nForce3 designed for the AGP channel.
Now all that remains is to wait for the first motherboards to come to the market so that they can be tested and the differences between SLI X8 and SLI X16. In the meantime, we will combine two images of motherboards in both versions:
nForce 4 SLI X16 for AMD
nForce 4 SLI X16 for Intel