The Board, Configurations and Drivers

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The reference board, which I have not received yet as of this printing, is fairly plain and simple. Like most reference boards we are used to seeing at, they offer very little in the way of expansion and extra features. However, since the IGP and MCP offer so much in themselves, the NVIDIA reference board is fairly competitive on its own! The picture below is just for reference purposes.

NVIDIA nForce Chipset Preview - Chipsets 15

The final list of features is somewhat impressive:

200 or 266 MHz Memory
64- or 128-bit DDR
200 or 266 MHz FSB
Athlon or Duron CPU
Integrated or External AGP 4x Graphics
Integrated Hardware 3D Audio
Integrated Dolby Digital 5.1-output
10/100 Base T Networking
HomePNA 2.0
56K Modem

Of course, I would fully assume that NVIDIA has 100% support in their chipset for Thunderbird and Duron as well as Palomino and Morgan core processors. However, without a board, I can’t verify it. Simply put, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise.

Here is how NVIDIA has their market breakup and how the nForce architecture fits into it all. The image below pretty much says it all:

  Platform Processors GPU Audio Memory Device Memory Size
Enthusiast nForce 420D GeForce 3 NVIDIA Premium Sound 128-bit DDR 256 MB
Performance nForce 420D Integrated GeForce2 NVIDIA 3D Audio 128-bit DDR 256 MB
Mainstream nForce 220 Integrated GeForce2 NVIDIA Hardware DX8 64-bit DDR 128 MB

Another interesting note on the NVIDIA nForce chipset that I didn’t mention previously is their plans for unified driver architecture. Similar to the VIA 4-in-1 drivers, only taken to a much higher level, the NVIDIA chipset drivers will come in a single basic release, one for the IGP and the MCP together which automatically update the drivers for their respective components. That means that a single driver update will have the latest versions for graphics, audio, networking, etc. Also, there is a UDAHAL that is basically a software program that will help the user update the drivers with ease.

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