The first association that comes to mind when we speak of Nvidia is graphics cards, however, it is also a pretty big developer of mainboard chipsets. Just recall the remarkable success of Nvidia chipsets when they first came out. The first nForce generation chipsets were not very popular, although they attracted our attention due to a number of interesting features. nForce 2 chipset, however, made a real statement. VIA’s seemingly unshakable position as of the leading chipset manufacturer melted away and every Socket A processor was better off with an Nvidia nForce2 based mainboard. nForce3 chipset didn’t create a remarkable resonance like that, however, it was mostly due to the fact that very first Socket 754 processors were very rare and expensive. Besides, many users were looking forward to Socket 939 CPUs. nForce4 chipset again experienced great success, but after that Nvidia’s core logic solutions slowed down their victorious pace. The transition to the fifth nForce generation and Socket AM2 platform required replacing DDR with DDR2 SDRAM so it didn’t happen quickly. Moreover, Intel Core 2 Duo processors came out just about that time and a lot of users switched to a higher performing platform.
Yes, speaking of Nvidia chipsets’ success we implied only AMD core logic sets, because Nvidia didn’t manage to compete on equal terms with Intel solutions. The very first mainboards on Nvidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipsets surprised and disappointed us with their weak overclocking potential. Besides, their reputation suffered noticeably from the Smithfield support issues. Once our attention span moves from AMD processors to Intel Conroe, we kind of left out Nvidia nForce5 chipset series. However, since there wasn’t anything special reported about these mainboards over time, it looked like we didn’t really miss much. However, we did review a good number of Nvidia nForce 680i SLI and 650i SLI based mainboards instead. Although there was nothing particularly interesting there either: same overclocking issues, same CPU support issues, only this time with quad-core Yorkfield processors. Besides, they revealed some performance problems at high frequencies (FSB Strap), non-operational frequency intervals (FSB Hole), “falling apart” RAID arrays and lost HDD data.
No wonder that Nvidia based mainboards for Intel processors are not very popular. The Intel CPU owners and potential buyers have been waiting for the fourth generation of Intel chipsets to come out, so that one day they could get an affordable mainboards with PCI Express 2.0 support. However, there already exist more affordable mainboards than those based on Intel X38 Express and Intel X48 Express.
Our today’s article will discuss a solution like that – ASUS P5N-D mainboard. but before we talk about the mainboard, let’s take a closer look at the Nvidia nForce 750i SLI chipset it is based on.