Feature Articles

NVIDIA nForce 600i Series - Intel Platform Core Logic Technology Overview

NVIDIA nForce 600i Series - Intel Platform Core Logic Technology Overview



Introduction

Introduction

NVIDIA's original nForce chipset was born as an AMD platform and it continued to be designed firstly for AMD and then adapted to use on the Intel platform. Since the nForce 4, NVIDIA has traditionally released the AMD version of the chipset before Intel. However, this week marks the launch of the sixth generation of the nForce chipset family and NVIDIA has chosen to push out the Intel version first. This course of action doesn't really come as a surprise however, because NVIDIA has not really updated its Intel chipsets since the nForce 4 Intel Edition and doesn't have a corresponding chipset to properly support Intel's new Core 2 Duo processor platform.

While the nForce 500 series for AMD marked a leap in features over its nForce 4 predecessors, the Intel versions were still based on variations of the nForce 4 (or C19) family and some of the new features introduced in its AMD counterpart were missing. The nForce 500 series retail implementations for Intel processors that we've encountered so far were handicapped with respect to Intel's own 'Broadwater' 965 chipsets. Mainly the lack of DDR2-800 compatibility and low overclocking capabilities were our concerns. However it doesn't end there as some were seen to have flaky implementation of the chipset, which doesn't bode well for stability and reliability.


NVIDIA nForce 600i Series

The new nForce 600i series of chipsets will finally have full Core 2 and above processor support and keeping with NVIDIA's 'Engineered for Enthusiasts' motto, boost DDR2 compatibility to support overclocked DDR2-1200 enthusiast memory and promises extreme FSB overclocking to beat or at least match that of the Intel P965. In addition, all the missing features from the AMD version of the nForce 590 SLI have been included with even more tweaks. If you haven't noticed yet, NVIDIA will now be denoting chipset models by appending an "a" or an "i" to the model number which essentially means supporting either AMD or Intel processors respectively. Good riddance to the lengthy "Intel Edition" nomenclature.

There will be three variations of the nForce 600i series: The top-end nForce 680i SLI, performance nForce 650i SLI and the mainstream single GPU nForce 650i Ultra. The main technical differences between these three chipsets are listed in the comparison table below:

Technical Features nForce 680i SLI nForce 650i SLI nForce 650i Ultra
Estimated Board Pricing
  • US$249-299
  • US$149-199
  • US$99-$149
CPU Support
  • Intel LGA775
  • Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad-core)
  • Core 2 Quad<
  • Core 2 Duo
  • Pentium D 9xx / 8xx series
  • Pentium 4 / Celeron D
  • Intel LGA775
  • Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad-core)
  • Core 2 Quad
  • Core 2 Duo
  • Pentium D 9xx / 8xx series
  • Pentium 4 / Celeron D
  • Intel LGA775
  • Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad-core)
  • Core 2 Quad
  • Core 2 Duo
  • Pentium D 9xx / 8xx series
  • Pentium 4 / Celeron D
FSB Support
  • 1333MHz PSB (333MHz FSB)*
  • 1066MHz PSB (266MHz FSB)
  • 1066MHz PSB (266MHz FSB)
PCI Express Configuration
  • 46 lanes total
  • 9 possible links
  • Two x16, one x8 and six x1 configuration
  • Triple graphics slot capable
  • 18 lanes total
  • 4 possible links
  • Two x8 and two x1 or one x16, and two x1 configuration
  • 18 lanes total
  • 3 possible links
  • One x16 and two x1 configuration
SLI Graphics Support
  • Dual x16 PCIe
  • Dual x8 PCIe
  • No
SLI-Ready Memory Support
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
LinkBoost Technology
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
FirstPacket Technology
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
DualNet Technology
  • Teaming
  • TCP/IP acceleration
  • No
  • No
Integrated Ethernet MAC
  • Dual 10/100/1000Mbps
  • One 10/100/1000Mbps
  • One 10/100/1000Mbps
Audio Support
  • HD Audio (Azalia)
  • HD Audio (Azalia)
  • HD Audio (Azalia)
Storage Support
  • Six SATA 3.0Gbps ports
  • SATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
  • Single channel Ultra ATA-133
  • Four SATA 3.0Gbps ports
  • SATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
  • Dual channel Ultra ATA-133
  • Four SATA 3.0Gbps ports
  • SATA RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5
  • Dual channel Ultra ATA-133
USB 2.0 Ports
  • 10
  • 8
  • 8
PCI Slots
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5

*1333MHz PSB for processors that support it.