The most experienced gaming fans will get at their disposal a new Nvidia nForce 590 SLI that can support PSI Express x16 + PCI Express x16 SLI mode. In this case there is a special microchip that allows implementing the support of the second PCI Express x16 graphics card slot. This chip is connected to the processor and MCP via the 16bit wide bidirectional HyperTransport bus working at 1GHz frequency.
As for the budget solution from Nvidia, the nForce 550 chipset, it is none other but the same nForce 570 Ultra with slightly cut-down features.
The formal specifications of the new nForce chipset family are given in the table below:
If we take a closer look at the specifications of the new Nvidia chipsets for Socket AM2 platform, we will see that they are not very much different from the previous generation nForce4 chipsets. In fact, there are three major improvements:
- Dual-port Gigabit Ethernet controller;
- 6 SATA channels;
- High Definition Audio
Even though this is a relatively short list of improvements, Nvidia presents the new chipset family as a tremendous step forward. They not only create huge marketing stir around them but also accompany the introduction with the additional software features and tools.
Without going too deep into details this time, we would like to mention the major technologies the new Nvidia chipsets deliver to the AM2 platform:
- LinkBoost . Automatic overclocking of PCI Express x16 bus in order to increase the data throughput between the GeForce graphics cards installed in the system.
- SLI-Ready Memory . This is another name for the earlier announced Enhanced Performance Profile technology, that allows using memory modules with extended SPD. Besides the main timing settings, this SPD also stores optimal Vmem and secondary parameters.
- FirstPacket . This technology allows assigning high priority to network packets generated by selected applications. Nvidia uses it to reduce the ping during online gaming.
- DualNet . Dual-port network controller of the chipset that allows using both ports separately and together for the same connection.
- TCP/IP Acceleration . A part of TCP/IP packets processing that is usually performed by the network card driver has been taken over by the chipset hardware.
- MediaShield . Six-port Serial ATA II chipset controller allows building one or more RAID arrays of the following types: 0, 1, 0+1 and 5.
Moreover, Nvidia is going to accompany the nForce 590/570/550 based mainboards with the new nTune 5.0 utility that has now acquired more advanced system monitoring and fine tuning options. One of the first mainboards based on Nvidia nForce 590 SLI chipset appeared ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe, which was used in our today’s test session.