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Rounding out the list of features in the MCP of the nForce chipset are StreamThru, 10/100 Base-T networking, modem support, HomePNA 2.0 support, USB and all the other standards peripheral interfaces.

The StreamThru is a technology that NVIDIA is using based around the HyperTransport technology from AMD. Basically, this allows the devices that need constant access to a system or memory bus, to get the bandwidth they need without adversely affecting the other components. For instance a modem or networking card needs to have a steady and constant amount of bandwidth to make sure its connections are strong and stable; any interruption of it will cause immediate problems. This is just yet another area where the internal MCP components get an advantage since they don’t need to struggle to access the south bridge – they are the south bridge.

Of course, the other features that I didn’t explicitly mention are still there. Things like dual IDE channels, floppy channel, ACR, AMR, etc are all there. Whether or not any motherboard manufacturers will be including IDE-based RAID solutions on motherboards is still up in the air, but I can only assume that the trend we have seen in the past year or so will continue.

NVIDIA is strongly promoting their networking option on the nForce chipset as being a key selling point as well. The graph below shows the differences between the NVIDIA, Intel and Realtek network solutions in terms of both MB/sec and remaining CPU power available. The nForce option comes out ahead in both tests (obviously).

NVIDIA nForce Chipset Preview - Chipsets 15

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