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
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.
4 platform is currently available in three distinct variants, with a fourth
version apparently following in the near future.
three main variants available now are:
nVidia nForce 4 - a socket 754 solution which supports both
Athlon 64 and Sempron processors
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
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.
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.