Articles: Mainboards

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We posted the first reviews of mainboards based on chipsets from nForce4 core logic family early this year. Now it is the end of November already, however, the situation with Socket 939 mainboards remained pretty much the same. NVIDIA’s chipsets for Athlon 64 processors remain the best choice so far from various standpoints. Here I should certainly mention high performance, rich functionality, and of course excellent stability of all nForce4 based mainboards. Although the alternative chipset developers lay themselves out trying to push their own solutions into the market, NVIDIA’s chipsets still receive our best response.

However, we shouldn’t suspect that the market for Socket 939 platforms has stagnated. First of all, nForce4 chipsets meet all the latest requirements, despite the fact that they have been out there for a while now. In fact, the only significant drawback of these chipsets is the absence of High Definition Audio support. Secondly, NVIDIA engineers do not keep their hands in pockets: the company has completed the development of a more up-to-date version of this chipset: nForce4 SLI x16. This product allows implementing two PCI Express x16 slots on the mainboard PCB. Besides, NVIDIA distributed major system functions and controller between different chips. This way the developer is preparing better ground for further evolution of its products that will be stimulated by the launch of new processor form-factors (Socket M2) and expansion of their features.

The launch of NVIDIA nForce4 SLI x16 chipset, which will now be the most advanced core logic solution for Athlon 64 platform, is very likely to affect the entire market. This chipset will oust the common nForce4 SLI from its positions. In other words, the most expensive mainboards priced at $150+ will move to this particular new chipset model – nForce4 SLI x16. The mainboards that have been in this price category until now will inevitably drop in price.

In other words, nForce4 SLI based mainboards will become more affordable and hence will attract even more attention. Unfortunately, these mainboards will not allow you to get the maximum performance from a pair of graphics cards. However, dual-graphics card configurations are still a pretty niche solution and most users are very unlikely to go for a powerful graphics subsystem like that in the near future. Therefore, nForce4 SLI based platforms will be quite enough for the majority of users out there. On the one hand, their cost will be not that high, and on the other they feature all contemporary functions and even allow using a pair of graphics cards, although not to the 100% of their potential efficiency.

Well, everything indicates that NVIDIA nForce4 SLI based platforms are going to be very popular for another while and hence we should pay due attention to them. Today we are going to take a closer look at a feature-rich mainboard from Gigabyte based on this chipset.

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