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A well-known maker of mainboards for servers and workstations – IWILL – is demonstrating a prototype of a platform based on highly-anticipated NVIDIA nForce4 core-logic. The DK8ES mainboard not only demonstrates nForce4’s targeting at servers and workstations, but also indicates the chipset’s capability to run two graphics cards at once, yielding higher speed.

IWILL Demos DK8ES

IWILL’s DK8ES – the world’s first NVIDIA nForce4 mainboard demonstrated – is designed to run two AMD Opteron microprocessors in PGA940 packaging, supports up to 16GB of memory by 8 DIMM slots, sports 2 PCI Express slots for graphics cards in SLI configuration, 3 PCI-X 64-bit 133MHz slots (AMD 8131 controller), dual Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA-150 with RAID 0,1, 0+1, USB 2.0 ports, ATI Rage XL chip (in case the mainboard is used for servers). The mainboard comes in Extended ATX form-factor and features EPS 12V power connectors (24 pin + 8 pin).


Picture by Akiba PC Hotline web-site

Positioning of the mainboard is slightly blurry. The DK8ES features two slots for graphics cards, to support SLI, a technology that is supposed to be demanded on very high-end desktops and workstations. SLI is a technology that enables two NVIDIA GeForce 6800-series or GeForce 6600 GT-based graphics cards to operate in a single workstation or PC in parallel, dividing workload and delivering higher graphics horsepower. However, IWILL decided to place ATI Rage XL onboard, an indication that the mainboard is supposed to serve in servers segment.

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 successor, the nForce4, is likely to become preferable choice for makers of platforms for workstations and possibly 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 nForce4-series core-logic, though, currently the firm is demonstrating a product called DK8ES.

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