nForce: Take 1

NVIDIA nForce2 Chipset Preview

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It was back in September of 2001 that we first took a look at the original NVIDIA nForce chipset. At the time the goals of NVIDIA for their first AMD chipset looked to be lofty, but attainable none-the-less. NVIDIA was able to bring to market the worlds fastest and best performing integrated graphics solution on any platform – AMD or Intel. The chipset offered the most robust feature set we had yet seen on a motherboard including a high quality 6-channel audio system.

However, where NVIDIA lacked was in the pure system performance area. The nForce chipset was a good performer, but it was never to out strip any of the VIA chipsets to become the top contender. The KT266A and the KT333 chipsets both showed significantly faster benchmarks. And that was the reason that the initial release of the NVIDIA chipset was not very well accepted in the hardcore PC enthusiast market. That market is always demanding the fastest available – and they went to NVIDIA for their graphics cards, not their motherboard chipsets.

NVIDIA did have more success in the OEM market than the PC enthusiast market, however. Systems from Compaq and HP were being sold at retail outlets like Best Buy that used the NVIDIA nForce chipset. NEC and MicronPC were also offering systems based on this platform.

But if anyone knows NVIDIA, they know that this is not a company to sit idly by and let one of their products get bested. NVIDIA knew that to be a success, they needed to hit the AMD market where the majority of it lay – and that is in the Clone-based PC market. The below image, provided by NVIDIA, shows the break-up between the integrated and discrete graphics (non-integrated) markets of AMD systems. As you can see, the discrete graphics market makes up the majority of the AMD platform and that it is dominated by the clone-pc – one either built by the user or by a smaller PC shop. To capture this market, NVIDIA is riding on the nForce2 chipset that they are announcing today.

NVIDIA nForce2 Chipset Preview - Chipsets 14

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