Posted by Thomas
McGuire on May 14, 2002
Manufacturer: ABIT Product:
nForce based motherboard
prices / motherboards
last year NVIDIA entered the chipset market with nForce,
offering a complete integrated solution with everything you
could imagine – integrated NVIDIA Graphics, new NVIDIA
Audio, integrated NIC… pretty much everything an OEM could
want. Unfortunately though, it came at a cost and not
everyone was willing to pay for it.
has now released an updated chipset which has removed the
integrated GeForce 2 graphics, thus reducing considerably
the cost of the chip and the motherboards carrying it,
making it a lot more attractive to enthusiasts (who’ll
more than likely already have something better than a
GeForce 2 MX anyway).
Abit NV7-133R is Abit’s latest nForce 415 MCP-D
Motherboard. The MCP-D indicates that this features the
Dolby Digital (AC-3) Encoder. So, now that the cost has been
greatly reduced is it attractive enough to be worthy of you
purchasing it? Read on…
know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. Much
like every other Abit motherboard I’ve used, the manuals
are excellent and well written. The software “bundle”
isn’t much to write home about, drivers’ disk and
drivers CD. To be honest, you shouldn’t bother touching
either as newer drivers are available online.
the Motherboard itself wasn’t particularly interesting
with the only thing of note being that I also had to connect
the CA20 back plate to the Motherboard, this provides 2
further USB ports for use as well as additional Analog &
Optical S/PDIF In/Outputs for the motherboards integrated
audio. There’s also an additional back plate which
provides a further 2 additional USB ports. That’s a total
of 6 USB ports available, which is far more than most of you
would require I’d say.
some note is the power supply, which must meet ATX 2.03
specification with an ATX12V1 power connector, according to
the manual. While this is no doubt a good thing (You’d be
surprised how many problems can be caused in systems because
of a weak PSU), it’s ironic enough as, much like the
Manual states, and this is a PSU designed for Pentium 4
a related note the AGP slot supports only 1.5V, which
shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most of you, unless
you have a 3dfx AGP Graphics card (bar the Voodoo 4 4500 AGP
seemingly) or something else requiring different voltage.
Still, it’s just one more reason to move on.
DIMM locations were a slight bit awkward however, and with a
lengthy graphics card like the GeForce 4 Ti I found myself
unable to remove/install RAM without also having to remove
the Graphics card first. Similarly a capacitor was rather
awkwardly placed for that Graphics cards & ended up just
about touching each other.
nForce 415 Chipset contains a good few patent pending
architectural features which NVIDIA have implemented, for
the most part these relate to optimizing system performance
(and much like the GeForce 3, 4 much of these come through optimizing
bandwidth use). Here’s a quick run-down of some of the
more important features:
(Dynamic Adaptive Speculative Pre-processor).
This is a latency reducing technique, which allows
unused memory bandwidth to load the cache with data
which the CPU is expected to request. Upon being
requested this data can be sent to the CPU immediately
rather than having to go through memory. This doesn’t
require any specific application support to work either.
you like to know more?
The motherboard features 2 Crossbar memory controllers
(Similar to the GeForce 3, 4 & 4 MX in operation).
This provides for a more efficient way of accessing
memory as compared with traditional memory controllers,
by allowing concurrent memory accesses between the CPU
& Graphics card, & can deliver up to 4.2GB
memory bandwidth a second. As before, no application
support is required for this to work. Would
you like to know more?
This is NVIDIA's patent-pending isochronous data
transport system, providing uninterrupted data streaming
for superior networking & broadband communications.
Seemingly this can help optimize streaming data &
will therefore improve performance of streaming reliant
you like to know more?
nForce uses AMD’s HyperTransport I/O bus, which
provides a great deal more bandwidth than is currently
available in most non-HyperTransport supporting
Motherboards between the North & Southbridge. Once
more, this can help alleviate performance issues
associated with bandwidth limitations, though to some
extent this will depend also on the amount of devices
struggling to get as much bandwidth as they can.