A New Media Processor – the MCP-T and MCP

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Tagging along with the updated “north bridge” on the new nForce2 comes a new MCP, or Media and Communications Processor. NVIDIA is introducing a new model called the nForce2 MCP-T as well as a regular nForce2 MCP. The MCP-T will be the upper class “south bridge” and the MCP will be targeted at the value segment.

NVIDIA nForce2 Chipset Preview - Chipsets 14

The MCP-T shares a lot in common with the original MCP from the nForce chipset. It includes the same audio unit that is unchanged from the original nForce and the Xbox system. It has all the audio features including Dolby Digital AC-3 as well as up to 256 different voices. However, there are other features that will make this a good buy for nearly all users. First, you will have support for two network interface cards – one powered by the NVIDIA 10/100 Ethernet and one powered by the 3Com 10/100 Ethernet. This will allow you to create a home or office gateway very easily to network the rest of your PCs. Or, if you are going to only use a single network channel, NVIDIA is giving you a brand name choice in the matter.

As for other connections, the MCP-T offers up to 6 USB 2.0 channels and 3 Firewire/1394 channels. The boards will support the newer ATA133 standard as well.

NVIDIA nForce2 Chipset Preview - Chipsets 15

For low-cost motherboards and value applications, NVIDIA will also have an nForce2 MCP that cuts down on some of the extra to save money. You will see this “south bridge” falling into the low cost boards that want the cheapest, complete integrated solution. However, this does not mean the feature set is useless. Both USB 2.0 and 1.1 are supported, as is the Ultra ATA133. Only a single network channel is available and it is the NVIDIA branded 10/100 connection. For audio, the processing unit is only a standard AC’97 suite.

It is good to know that both MCP and MCP-T are pin-compatible with each other meaning that motherboard manufacturers will be able to offer as many different options and features for their boards as the market allows.

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