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Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The GA-K8NXP-9 is bound to be a favourite solution, for not only does it incorporate PCI Express x16 slot, but it also features a remarkable array of goodies.
 99% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Nov 12 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9

nForce 4 features and variants

As seen in previous nVidia nForce chipsets, the new nForce 4 is a single chip solution. This means that instead of dividing the chipset into a Northbridge (for video and memory input which communicates directly with the processor) and Southbridge (peripheral and drive input, communicates with Northbridge), all functions have been placed on a single integrated core logic circuit.

This design innovation helps to reduce data bottlenecks by eliminating the data bus between the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets completely. Given the unique architecture of the Athlon 64 processor, in which the memory controller is on the CPU itself rather than the chipset, this kind of one-chip solution makes a lot of sense.

nVidia's nForce 4 platform is currently available in three distinct variants, with a fourth version apparently following in the near future.

The three main variants available now are:
nVidia nForce 4 - a socket 754 solution which supports both Athlon 64 and Sempron processors
nVidia nForce 4 Ultra - a solution for Athlon 64 and FX processors in the socket 939 formfactor
nVidia nForce 4 SLI (Scalable Link Interface) - a solution for socket 939 Athlon 64 and FX processors, featuring dual PCI-Express slots for dual SLI operation with compatible video cards.

As you might expect, there are abundant similarities between each of these nForce 4 chipsets. Each of the three versions currently released handles different situations, but each also offers a similar feature set to the user, the biggest of which is PCI Express.

PCI-Express support

The most awaited feature of the new nVidia nForce 4 chipset is PCI Express, and it is arguably the most significant. For some background on PCI Express and how it works, see our article on the technology here. Each of the three nForce 4 chipset variants includes a full 20 PCI Express lanes, 16 of which are reserved for the PCI Express graphics slot. The other four are split into 4 PCI-Express x1 lanes for peripheral slots. This enables Athlon 64 users to take advantage of the newest PCI Express video cards and other components.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-9 nForce4 Ultra Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Exploring the nForce 4 chipset
 Pg 3.  — nForce 4 features and variants
 Pg 4.  Improved disk controller and RAID support
 Pg 5.  Advancing Storage Features
 Pg 6.  Gigabit Ethernet built in
 Pg 7.  nForce 4 chipset variations
 Pg 8.  Feature comparisons
 Pg 9.  Overclocking and more
 Pg 10.  The BIOS
 Pg 11.  PCStats Test System and Sysmark 2004
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 14.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 15.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 16.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 17.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 18.  Maximum Motherboard Overclocks and Conclusion

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