FIRST LOOK - nForce4: Gigabyte K8NXP-9by Wesley Fink on November 12, 2004 8:00 PM EST
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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.