While NVIDIA’s recently announced nForce4 SLI Intel Edition core-logic for Intel Pentium processors generally supports more features and capabilities compared to Intel’s own top-of-the-range 925XE chipset, NVIDIA’s product is far more expensive, according to some reports. In spite of that, all leading mainboard makers are ready to ship platforms running nForce4 SLI Intel Edition.
NVIDIA's First Intel-Supporting Chipset - More Expensive than Intel's Own
According to a report from DigiTimes web-site, NVIDIA Corp. charges mainboard makers $80 per set of nForce4 SLI Intel Edition ICs, which is 60%, or $30, higher compared to the price of Intel’s 925X and 925XE chipsets. Still, first-tier mainboard makers “may be able to receive a discounted unit price” of $65, which is still 30% higher compared to the price of Intel’s top chipset. NVIDIA’s similar nForce4 SLI core-logic for AMD processors – NVIDIA nForce4 SLI – reportedly costs “below $50,” according the article.
An NVIDIA spokesperson declined to comment on pricing of the company’s chipsets.
Even though NVIDIA’s nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset offers a set of capabilities not available on Intel’s 925X and 925XE platform logic, high price may limit the number of mainboard makers that actually offer products based on NVIDIA’s latest core-logic to an array of makers who target enthusiast and sell their products in very high volumes. Yet, the Santa Clara, California-based company is in a very favourable position due to the lack of competition other than Intel Corp. itself. Neither VIA nor SiS chipset designers could offer a competitive and widely available high-end chipset for Intel Pentium 4 platforms since the year 2000, whereas NVIDIA’s nForce4 SLI Intel Edition has received some acclaims from the media. Nevertheless, as Intel ramps up the production of its 955X core-logic later this quarter, the rush for the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition is likely to dip, as the forthcoming chipset is expected to sport some of the key-technologies found in the competitor from NVIDIA and will cost $50.
The relatively high price of the chipset may not only be conditioned by the fact that it sports an array of never-before-seen caps, but also due to the licensing fees NVIDIA has to pay Intel Corp.
Given that all Socket 775 mainboards featuring Intel 925X and 925XE chipsets use 6-layer PCBs, just like all mainboards – including Socket 939 and Socket 775 – supporting NVIDIA’s multi-GPU SLI technology, the price premium of platforms with nForce4 SLI Intel Edition over those based on the i925X or i925XE will be limited to the difference in chipset and design costs. Still, NVIDIA’s solution for Intel Inside PCs is likely to be more expensive compared to NVIDIA’s platform for AMD Athlon 64 computers.
Leading Computer and Mainboard Makers Adopt NVIDIA's Chipset In Spite of Pricing
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition that consists of two chips: nForce4 SLI SPP and nForce4 MCP.
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition SPP supports various Intel Pentium 4, Pentium D, Pentium Extreme Edition and Celeron D processors with up to 1066MHz processor system bus, dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM controller supporting memory at up to 667MHz as well as re-programmable PCI Express x16 lane that can operate in normal – 16x – mode as well as in multi-GPU – dual 8x – mode supporting up to two graphics cards. The nForce4 SLI Intel Edition SPP features some performance enhancements to improve speed of memory controller, such as DASP 3.0. The nForce4 SLI Intel Edition connects to I/O controller using HyperTransport bus.
NVIDIA’s I/O controller, the nForce4 MCP previously code-named the MCP04, that is proclaimed to be paired with the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition MCP, sports many innovative features, such as RAID, NVIDIA ActiveArmor firewall, NVIDIA Gigabit Ethernet, Serial ATA-300 and other important technologies, like USB 2.0, FireWire, 8-channel AC’97 audio and so on. The chip does not support high definition audio known as Azalia.
NVIDIA said it had supplied production silicon of the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset to the world's leading PC OEMs, system builders and motherboard manufacturers, all of whom are readying products for channel and retail availability, including Abit, ABS, Acer, Alienware, Amax, ASUSTeK, Atelco, Axcelerate Computers, Biostar, Bow.it, Chaintech, Colfax International, CyberPower, DFI, ECS, EID, Epox, Falcon Northwest, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Hypersonic PC, Ibuypower, IHDE, ISM Captain Flint, McKinnon Micro, Microstandard, Milwaukee PC, Monarch Computer, MPC, MSI, Network Technical, Olidata, PC Club, Polywell, Scan, Seanix, Systemax, Topnotch, Tuxon, Velocity Micro, Vicious PC, Vobis, Voodoo PC, and more.