Partner Support and Conclusion

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If there was one major point in a chipset release that NVIDIA fell behind on, it was the acceptance and pushing of there manufacturing partners. In fact, if you look at our reviews page, you will see that only a single nForce board was ever reviewed. The MSI board did well and offered lots of features, but in order to dominate in the PC enthusiast market, you need to have a much more global reach than a single manufacturer. While other companies did produce the boards, it was too little, too late by that time. This time around, NVIDIA is claiming support from such vendors as Asus, Abit, Epox, MSI, Chaintech and Leadtek. If they can actually get boards produced and advertised by all 6 of those companies, they won’t have a problem with garnering some sales of the boards. In many ways, this whole ordeal reminds me of the initial wave of Athlon chipset motherboards being released into the market without any kind of momentum.

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When can you expect to be able to buy an nForce2-based motherboard? While today is the official launch of the new chipset, I don’t even have a reference board here yet. I expect to have one next week some time. NVIDIA is claiming that chip and motherboard production will be in full swing by the middle of August, so I would expect to see boards widely available by the end of August or beginning of September.

Another reason that the original nForce was not as well accepted as we might have originally thought was that the price of the nForce motherboards was kept high due to a lack of manufacturers and high costs in general. NVIDIA is hoping to keep that out of the picture this time around. NVIDIA has estimated that we should be seeing top of the line motherboards using the nForce2 SPP and MCP-T to be positioned “well-below” the $100 range. For their integrated IGP solution, NVIDIA is also claiming to be able to sell boards for the $100 price range. If NVIDIA can do this, they would be one of the best-priced motherboard chipsets available.

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Though this wasn’t directly explained in my briefing, this image was found on the NVIDIA press FTP site, which shows one of the integrated Shuttle systems, that we recently reviewed here using the NVIDIA nForce2 chipset motherboard. Of course, this is only the case to the system, and everything else at this point is speculation. But, let’s just say that NVIDIA and Shuttle are working closely on this.

If NVIDIA is able to keep the price down and do as they are claiming performance-wise, the nForce2 chipset looks like it has the possibility of being a bigger hit in the clone-PC market than the nForce chipset was. If they are able to have the faster performing discrete chipset as well as the most powerful integrated graphics chipset, NVIDIA would be in a good position in the chipset market and it would surely put VIA on full alert. With their KT400 coming out a bit later than nForce2, VIA will definitely be looking for ways to stomp NVIDIA back into the video card market.

Don’t forget to visit the AMD Forums for more discussion on the NVIDIA nForce2 chipset!

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