Closer Look at Nvidia nForce 750i SLI Chipset
The official specifications of Nvidia nForce 750i SLI chipset are summed up in the table below:
If we compare it with the Intel P35 Express chipset features, which are pretty similar, we will see that Nvidia nForce 750i SLI has only 8 USB ports instead of 12 and only 4 Serial ATA ports instead of 6 by the Intel solution. However, Nvidia nForce 750i SLI retained fully-fledged Parallel ATA supporting up to 4 devices, while Intel chipsets haven’t had it for a long time now and it can only be implemented with additional controllers. Overall, Intel P35 Express features seem to be more up-to-date, although Nvidia nForce 750i SLI is not critically behind, also.
However, you can get the best idea of the Nvidia nForce 750i SLI chipset features from the flow-chart below. You immediately notice a three-chip combination instead of a traditional dual-chip design with a North and South Bridges or even a single-chip design Nvidia has already used before. Now there is the third East Bridge:
Of course, the third components is Nvidia nForce 200, however, it is the primary feature distinguishing this core logic set from its predecessors. It is a bridge-chip that provides PCI Express 2.0 support. MCP51 or nForce 430 stands for the South Bridge. It appeared back in 2005 and we are very well familiar with it already. We saw it in discrete and integrated Nvidia chipsets for Intel and AMD processors. Namely, this particular South Bridge was used in Nvidia nForce 650i SLI chipset. The North Bridge of Nvidia nForce 750i SLI is codenamed C72P.
The interesting thing is that upon system boot-up ASUS P5N-D mainboard doesn’t deny that it uses MCP51 South Bridge. However, it claims that its North Bridge is a C55 chip. You should remember that it is exactly the chip that was used in Nvidia nForce 680i SLI and Nvidia nForce 650i SLI chipsets. The combination of a C55 North Bridge with MCP51 South Bridge produces Nvidia nForce 650i SLI and by adding an Nvidia nForce200 we turn it into Nvidia nForce 750i SLI.
Of course, you can check that the specifications of the Nvidia nForce 650i SLI and Nvidia nForce 750i SLI are identical (except the PCI Express 2.0 support). However, there is one more important difference beside the PCI Express 2.0: the new core logic set is declared to fully support 45nm Penryn processors including quad-core Yorkfield as well as dual-core Wolfdale. The Nvidia nForce 6 was initially supposed to support Yorkfiled processors, but then they called this feature off. In other words, the new Nvidia nForce 750i SLI chipset is made from the old Nvidia nForce 650i SLI with eliminated drawbacks and an Nvidia nForce 200 chip providing PCI Express 2.0 support.
By the way, Nvidia nForce 780i SLI chipset was made following the same principle from the combination of Nvidia nForce 680i SLI and Nvidia nForce 200. The two chipsets, Nvidia nForce 780i SLI and Nvidia nForce 750i SLI, created as modifications of the old ones, seem to be some sort of intermediate solution on the way to a really new chipset like Nvidia nForce 790i SLI designed according to a traditional dual-chip schematics.