Flagship AM2 Chipset - nForce 590 SLI
The flagship nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset is
aimed directly at the enthusiast market.
If you want the best (and you do right!?), then
this chipset is your best option for an AM2-based system. If you're already familiar what
the nForce 590 has to offer, feel free
to jump ahead to the next page of our review on
the DFI LANPartyUT NF590 SLI-M2R/G motherboard.
C51XE and MCP55XE Core
nVIDIA breaks the nForce 590 SLI down into two chipsets, the
C51XE Northbridge which is built on TSMC's 90nm manufacturing, and the MCP55PXE
which is manufactured on TSMC's 140nm manufacturing.
nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipsets have a total of 46 PCI Express lanes,
and these are divided into 9 links. The C51XE SPP Northbridge supplies one PCI
Express x16 link while it's the MCP55PXE that has the rest of the
PCI Express lanes.
The MCP55PXE supports one PCI Express
x16 link, which means users get full videocard bandwidth when running two nVIDIA
videocards in SLI. The MCP Southbridge has a PCI Express x8 link and six PCI
Express x1 links, depending on what the motherboard vendor decides to implement.
Whichever way you slice it, there's plenty of high bandwidth PCI Express lanes
to go around!
The nVidia MCP55PXE Southbridge is definitely the workhorse
of the two, and it boasts a whole host of other features as well. The
Southbridge handles up to 5 bus mastering PCI slots, but again it's up to the
motherboard manufacturer to decide how many PCI slots to equip on a motherboard.
There is a direct link to the Southbridge for two Gigabit Ethernet connections,
and these will include nVIDIA's DualNet technology of
| nVidia nForce 500-Series Feature
||nVidia nForce 590
||940-pin Socket AM2|
|nVida SLI Support
||Yes, (2 x16)|
||Native Gigabit Ethernet
|nVidia MediaShield Storage
||0, 1, 0+1, 5|
|nVidia nTune Utility
|PCI Express Lanes
||High Definition Audio
nForce 590 SLI Assorted Technologies
nVIDIA has upgraded the integrated audio solution to include Intel's High Definition
Audio Azalia standard. With Serial ATA going the way it is, there is only
one IDE channels integrated now. To balance out storage requirements, the number
of Serial ATA II (3Gbps) ports has been increased to six. Continuing on the hard
drive front, nVIDIA's Serial ATA II channels adhere to the Serial ATA 2.0 spec
and support RAID mode 0, 1, 0+1 and 5.
nVIDIA DualNet technology looks very interesting, and what it
does is basically give the user greater control over network processes. All high end
and mainstream nVIDIA chipsets will now by default support two Gigabit connections. Users
can combine the two connections for more bandwidth, and there is hardware TCP/IP Acceleration which
lowers CPU utilization.
Another very cool feature is nVIDIA's FirstPacket Technology which
allows you to prioritize network traffic. So for example, if you are a gamer
that tends to do multiple things while you're online, you can prioritize your
game traffic so that ping times are not affected by the other processes going on
in the background.
When the nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI chipset is equipped with
GeForce 7900GTX class or higher videocards, the chipset will automatically
activate the nVidia LinkBoost technology. LinkBoost increases
the PCI Express x16 buses to the videocard by 25%, and it also does the same for
the HyperTransport link between the North and Southbridge chipsets. While
increasing the bandwidth PCI Express bandwidth to GeForce 7900GTX might be a bit
redundant, future generation videocards should see a nice gain from this
On the memory front, the nVidia 590 SLI chipset introduces
something called the Enhanced Performance Profiles or EPP. This
is an open memory standard put forth by Corsair and nVIDIA which takes over
where JEDEC's SPD leaves off. As the Enhanced Performance Profiles description
implies, it adds performance profiles to the memory SPD in addition to the
conservative compatibility settings already programmed
EPP compliant memory is dubbed "SLI Ready" memory on nVidia
platforms (great marketing on nVIDIA's part) and allows the system to
dynamically tighten up memory timings and increase voltages for better
performance with no fuss. Whether you're a novice or experienced computer user,
the benefits of EPP are immediate. Corsair was the initial memory
manufacturer out the door with this technology, but others are already following
Finally nVIDIA has greatly upgraded its nTune
software which allow users more control over their systems.
Realistically with nTune, there is no longer a need to go into the BIOS to
adjust settings, now you can do everything within
Up next, a close look at the DFI Lanparty UT
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