Intel and nVidia entered into a licensing agreement that will allow nVidia to make chipsets for the P4 bus logic platform. Does this mean that we'll want to start looking for computers with "nVidia Inside"? DMOS walks through the implications of the deal.
The big news recently was an announcement by both Intel and nVidia. The key part of that statement was that nVidia has licensed the P4 bus logic. This allows nVidia to make chipsets for that platform. This is a huge statement, and indicates many different things.
To start with, the first truly competitive chipset not made by Intel themselves since the VIA Pentium III days might emerge from this alliance. To be honest, and sales figures bear this out, the solutions from both VIA and SiS haven't really managed to make any kind of impact whatsoever. ATi has had the bus license for a while, but hasn't brought any truly exciting products to market as of yet. I do hope that changes with the soon to be released PCIe supporting replacement of the 9100IGP, but that might not arrive until the future nVidia products also see the light of day.
The reason for optimism that nVidia can make a competitive chipset for this platform where no one but Intel has previously? They have shown the ability to make a quality memory controller on the nForce2. While it was severely limited in its performance by the AthlonXP front side bus, that won't be an excuse any more, and it's practically a ready made solution. This is really the defining feature in system performance, one reason that the Athlon64 based boards all score so close together (it's taken out of their hands).
nVidia also has a full set of goodies that can be hooked into the new south bridge. Unlike the nForce3 150, the 250 (and upcoming nForce4) revision are fully featured, with such luxuries available as four channel SATA, gigabit LAN through a discreet bus which performs better than Intels own CSA, as well as a hardware firewall. None of those really are quite as powerful as the hardware Dolby Digital Encoding offered before as part of the SoundStorm found on certain nForce2 boards, but adding in "HD Audio" as found in recent Intel chipsets would be an adequate compromise for most consumers.
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