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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  • arswihart - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    quote by Wesley Fink:
    "#6 - Full performance comparisons of nForce3 Ultra and nForce4 were run at nF4 launch at http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?... Performance of nF3 and nF4 is basically the same - the only real difference is PCIe instead of AGP."

    but you are showing here that the production board from Gigabyte is a little different than the reference nf4 boards. I think it would be helpful to at least include one good nf3-250gb board in some future nf4 round-up or review, for comparison's sake, as i think its more practical at this point to compare nf3 to nf4, rather than reference nf4 to production nf4.

    Thanks for the review though, and I'm also interested in the price of these nf4 boards. I've seen somewhere quoting these boards on average at like $180
    Reply
  • Whizzmo - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    Possible Typo:
    Page 2, below the second mobo pic, the following:

    Four ports are 3Gb/s ports provided by the nForce3 chip, and

    should probably be:

    Four ports are 3Gb/s ports provided by the nForce4 chip, and


    Danke :)
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    oh, ok... 1.5Gbps and 3Gbps signalling rates, which translate down to 150MB/s and 300MB/s data rates, respectively. The SATA uses 8b/10b encoding, so 10 bits of signalling are need for each 8 bits of data.

    Anyway, nevermind.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    ok, it's late, so I may be tired and crazy....

    but what's all this about 1.5Gb SATA and 3Gb SATA? I thought standard SATA is 150MB/s (SATA-150), while the new SATA 2.0 spec runs at 300MB/s. Even converting those speeds to Gigabits per second, you get 1.2Gbs and 2.4Gbps.
    Reply
  • Jalf - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    Would be nice to see it compared to ATI's A64 board. That looked like a pretty good performer as well Reply
  • stelleg151 - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    Any clues as to when we will be able to get our hands on one? Reply
  • RyanVM - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    Too bad the secondary SATA controller isn't on the PCIe bus. Reply
  • xtknight - Saturday, November 13, 2004 - link

    wow, very interesting. looks like the gigabyte mobo is a winner. by the way, doom 3 belongs under OpenGL benchmarks. Reply
  • PorBleemo - Friday, November 12, 2004 - link

    So much for that "Fatal1ty". :P Reply
  • ProviaFan - Friday, November 12, 2004 - link

    Page 2 "Four ports are 3Gb/s ports provided by the nForce3 chip"

    Oops?
    Reply

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