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As reported, IWILL had unleashed a mainboard based on NVIDIA nForce3 Pro 250 core-logic for two AMD Opteron microprocessors, putting NVIDIA into the list of providers of high-end 64-bit workstations.

NVIDIA Jumps In Workstations

IWILL’s DK8N mainboard unveiled recently is the beginning of IWILL’s planned ramp of NVIDIA nForce-based mainboards for workstations powered by AMD Opteron chips.

While NVIDIA is mostly known for its graphics processors and chipsets for consumer personal computers, the company is likely to gain popularity in the markets of workstations and servers later this year, after debuting its first workstation chipset in mid-2003.

NVIDIA is constantly adding additional features and capabilities into its core-logic sets, while AMD – the main provider of chipsets for AMD Opteron-based servers and workstations – has not updated its AMD8000-series chips for more than a year. As the demand towards advanced caps like Serial ATA and PCI Express rises later in 2004, NVIDIA nForce3 successors are likely to become preferable choice for makers of platforms for workstations and servers.

IWILL has been planning to make three workstation 2P mainboards based on NVIDIA nForce3 core-logic sets this year. These are DK8N, DK8E and DK8E2 based on nForce3 Pro 250, as well as CK8-04 series core-logic.

DK8N: 1000MHz HT Bus on AMD Opteron?

The first 2P Opteron workstation platform with NVIDIA nForce3 Pro 250 core-logic onboard is IWILL DK8N. The part features 2 Socket 940, 8 DIMM slots for up to 16GB of DDR SDRAM, AGP 8x slot, 4 PCI-X 64-bit 133MHz slots (AMD 8131 controller), 1 PCI slot, Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA-150 with RAID 0,1, 0+1, USB 2.0 ports, FireWire ports, 6-channel audio and so on.

IWILL DK8N is designed for CAD/CAM, DCC users who need high-end graphic cards for Open GL as well as powerful 64-bit microprocessors.

NVIDIA nForce3 Pro 250 supports 1GHz HyperTransport bus, while current AMD Opteron support 800MHz HT bus. It is not clear whether future AMD Opteron microprocessors support 1000MHz bus. AMD tends to sustain drop-in compatibility of new chips with all AMD Opteron platforms.

Pricing and availability of IWILL DK8N were not announced.

IWILL’s Future Plans

Another mainboard for 2 AMD Opteron CPUs based on NVIDIA’s chipset – IWILL DK8E – is scheduled to come in the third quarter. This one will carry 8 DIMM slots, PCI Express x16 for graphics, ATI Rage XL graphics chip, PCI-X 2.0 slots, Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA-150 support, USB 2.0 and other essential features and controllers. The DK8E2 that is scheduled for late Q4 2004 or early Q1 2005 will boast with some performance and feature-set improvements.

NVIDIA and IWILL did not comment on future products for the story.

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