While NVIDIA’s mainboard partners are still about to deliver the nForce3 250 and nForce3 250Gb-based mainboards, the company is continuing to work on more powerful platform products. Sources familiar with the company’s plans told X-bit labs that NVIDIA’s PCI Express core-logic for AMD64 chips will sport boosted PCI Express specs as well as High-Definition audio.
Unofficial sources said that NVIDIA’s core-logic code-named CK8-04/Pro designed for AMD’s Socket 939 processors will sport 1000MHz HyperTransport bus, 4 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID, 2 Parallel ATA-33/66/100/133 channels with RAID, Gigabit Ethernet, 10 USB 2.0 ports, 4 PCI slots, High-Definition 24-bit 96kHz 7.1 audio as well as something NVIDIA calls PCI Express x20.
PCI Express x20 may indicate availability of totally 20 PCI Express lanes supported by the CK8-04/Pro chip, e.g. one PCI Express x16 and four PCI Express x1 buses. However, keeping in mind that NVIDIA once boosted performance of AGP 8x on the GeForce FX and nForce3 chips to the so-called AGP 16x rate, it is possible to expect the company to do this once again by tweaking PCI Express for graphics lane in order to attain higher performance with its own graphics cards that presumably may sport the same capability. There are two pretty likely ways to accomplish this: to increase clock-speed of the PCI Express for graphics bus or use other methods of gaining bandwidth, e.g. not to use CRC lanes for error control, but use those additional lanes for data transfer.
PCI Express x16 slot for graphics functions at clock-speed in 2.50GHz range and is able to pump up to 4GB/s in every direction, giving duplex bandwidth of up to 8GB/s. In case NVIDIA gives its PCI Express x16 core-logic chips and graphics processors frequency headroom, combination of future graphics cards based on NVIDIA GeForce GPUs as well as mainboards based on nForce chipsets will yield a bit higher performance compared to competing combinations, if the assumptions are correct.
NVIDIA's CK8-04 is expected for Q3 or Q4 2004 release.
Representatives for NVIDIA did not comment on the report.