is planning to begin designing chipsets around the PCI Express 2.0 interface, with the goal of making sure their newer hardware has an advantage when paired with AMD's upcoming processors. Along with that, it makes perfect sense that their new video cards will also be designed around PCI Express 2.0. In particular, their new nForce-7 chipsets
will be working with the AMD Phenom class processors. Once the chipset is released later this year, they will start production of two chipsets, then begin producing a third in 2008. While it is too early to speculate on much, especially since Nvidia doesn't comment much on products in-development, the featuresets are already beginning to look nice:
The most powerful flavour of the new core-logic series – MCP72XE – is projected to consist of two chips so that to support two PCI Express 2.0 x16 lanes for two (or more) add-on graphics cards and three PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes for other expansions. The enthusiast-oriented MCP72XE will also support memory modules with enhanced performance profiles (EPP), 1GbE network controller, six Serial ATA ports with RAID capabilities, two Parallel ATA drives, twelve USB 2.0 and other capabilities.
Whether or not new interfaces provide immediate performance benefits, most manufacturers often make plans sooner rather than later to begin migrating. We saw this with the move from IDE to SATA, from PCI to AGP, from AGP to PCI Express and in many other interfaces as well. Likely it'll continue this way, though hopefully companies like Nvidia will stick to what they have been in doing in offering cards in multiple formats for a long period, giving people ample time to transition and not abandoning customers with older equipment.