It has been just a few weeks since nVidia launched their nForce4 chipset - their first chipset with PCI Express for Athlon 64. Rumors have abounded since that launch that the nForce 4 might be delayed due to issues with the 1000 Hyper Transport of the nF4 chipset. We had also been told by several manufacturers that companies like Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte - often called the Tier 1 manufacturers - would be the first to launch both nForce4 and the SLI version of nForce4 for dual nVidia video cards. This would be followed a few weeks later by nForce4 boards from smaller manufacturers.

While we have speculated as to who might be first to market with nForce4, we are pleased that this is no longer a mystery. Gigabyte is the first to get a production nForce4 board in our hands. The board itself arrived as a complete K8NXP-9 package, but the outside packaging was not ready when Gigabyte shipped the board to us from Taiwan. Other than the outside package and a limited early BIOS, the board is a production board.

We couldn't wait to run the production K8NXP-9 through our benchmarks, so we decided to do a "First Look" to bring you the news as fast as possible. We were also very interested in testing the performance and stability of the Gigabyte nForce4 compared to the nF4 Reference board. Our review of the earlier Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939, based on the nForce3 Ultra, did not find it to be one of the top boards in our Socket 939 Roundup: Battle at the Top. Have things improved? There have also been many end users who have reported issues with memory on the earlier Gigabyte nF3 Ultra board, so we wanted to see if that area had also improved in the nForce4 update.

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  • USAF1 - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    Nice job on the review, Wesley! It answered most of my performance-related NF4 questions. One thing it did leave me wondering though is the performance difference (throughput, CPU utilization, etc.) between the NF4 GbE controller and the Marvell controller on the PCIe bus. VIA has recently stated that they won't be offering an onboard GbE controller with the K8T890 because external GbE boards offer better performance. It would seem to me that this board would be an excellent platform to test that theory. Anyway, a fine job on the "first look" review. Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    lol #11 I posted before I wanted to kick that kid on the nuts, Looks like Gigabyte got to him first :) Oh Fatal1ty, I'd recommend an ice pack for that... And your little p4 rig. Reply
  • Superbike - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    How about some Excel and Word benchmarks my money is
    on the P4EE.
    Reply
  • blahpbla - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    What about nTune. Is it suported? Would be nice to see it in action. Reply
  • ImJacksAmygdala - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    I can't wait to see what people can do with this board and a +3200 once the new bios comes out... Reply
  • FinalFantasy - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    Wow...it looks like Intel is getting owned on both fronts. Regular AMD64 chips are killing P4 EE's and now we have ATI's RX480/RS480 and nVidia's NF4 mobo's killing Abit's just released Fatal1ty mobo that's based off of Intel's chipset.......hmm...not too good for Intel at all. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    #22 - As listed on p.2 of the review under "Expansion Slots" the Gigabyte has 1 x16 PCIe, 2 x1 PCIe, and 3 PCI slots. All current PCI Express boards we have seen offer some PCI slots. Reply
  • LX - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    As a person concerned about both backward and forward compatibility, I'd like to know if there are boards that offer both PCI and PCIe slots and how many.
    Reply
  • DrMrLordX - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    arswihart, I second that. I'd like to see s939 nf3-250gb vs s939 nf4 using the FX-55. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    #9 & #10 - Corrected. Reply

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