First nForce2 Motherboard Announced

[[Epox nForce2]]

Just a few days after the official nVidia announcement regarding the release of nForce 2, Epox have released details of their EP-8RGA+, which supports XP processors, and will include the nForce 2 features. Some of these features are an integrated Geforce 4MX, USB 2.0 and Firewire support, and dual LAN support. According to Epox their offering includes three memory slots for up to 3GB's of DDR 400 memory using the dual DDR channels, six PCI slots, a smart card interface, Dolby Digital 5.1, interactive content audio and UDMA ATA 133.

Epox said it comes with 3Com dial LAN and Nvidia Ethernet controllers, and is build for overclocking, using the Magic Health function on board. Epox also claimed that more boards carrying nForce 2 will soon be announced.

[[What is nForce 2?]]

Designed for PCs and motherboards using AMD Athlon XP and Duron processors, NVIDIA nForce2 Platform Processors utilize HyperTransport, a high-speed data bus, for internal platform communications, and deliver the highest level of PC performance due to special NVIDIA-engineered memory optimizations and other system level innovations traditionally found only at the CPU level.

NVIDIA is an extremely valuable partner to AMD, and an example of our shared commitment to customer-centric innovation, said Hector Ruiz, president and CEO of AMD. The new nForce2 family is a perfect example, providing computer manufacturers with the flexibility to address multiple market segments and price points. For users, the nForce2 product family works with AMD Athlon XP processors to deliver an excellent combination of performance, connectivity and stability.

NVIDIA's family of nForce2 Platform Processors consists of the nForce2 System Platform Processor (SPP) and the nForce2 Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP), each of which are paired with the nForce2 Media and Communications Processor (MCP). Together, the NVIDIA nForce2 Platform Processors deliver the following key features and functionality:

Performance
Targeted at the system builder, channel and OEM manufacturers who require a discrete platform solution, NVIDIA nForce2 SPP Platform Processors offer blistering platform performance without integrated graphics. The nForce2 SPP Platform Processors feature the industry's only dual DDR400 memory subsystem, providing more than two times the raw system bandwidth over competitive solutions. NVIDIA has engineered the memory subsystem to take advantage of the increased speed of DDR400 memory modules while reducing overall memory access latency, resulting in the fastest and most stable AMD-based PC environment ever. In addition, the SPP incorporates other system level innovations that speeds up CPU processing and intelligently fetches and caches data and other information before they are needed, substantially boosting overall system performance. For add-in graphics capability, the nForce2 SPP features an AGP 8X expansion slot, the fastest internal graphics connection available today.

NVIDIA's nForce2 Platform Processors form the foundation for the fastest PCs ever designed, said Jeans Huang, Senior Vice President of R&D at MSI. NVIDIA's unique system level innovations, including onboard, intelligent, look-ahead caches, and dedicated circuits to drive three DIMMS running DDR400 at full speed are light years ahead of other core-logic designs. Quite simply, PCs and motherboards featuring the power of the nForce2 Platform Processors will outpace everything else in the market by a large margin.

Graphics
In addition to the memory and performance features designed into the nForce2 SPP, the nForce2 IGP also integrates a GeForce4 MX graphics core-the industry's fastest integrated graphics solution. With performance nearly four times that of the closest competitor, the nForce2 IGP also delivers unparalleled visual quality through NVIDIA's Accuview Antialiasing Engine; a Video Processing Engine (VPE) for MPEG2 and DVD decoding; a TV encoder; and an HDTV processor for high-definition viewing. The nForce2 IGP also incorporates NVIDIA nView technology, marking the first time that support for multi-monitor configurations-including any combination of CRTs, flat panels or TVs-has been integrated directly into the platform core-logic-high-end features normally associated with costly add-in cards. For graphics expandability, the nForce2 IGP Platform Processor also features an AGP 8X expansion slot, the fastest internal graphics connection available today.

Nothing comes close to the raw performance of the integrated GeForce4 MX graphics core, said Mr. Simon Ho, Chairman at Chaintech. The nForce2 IGP with GeForce4 MX graphics outguns every other integrated graphics solution available today, and with the addition of innovative features such as full-scene antialiasing and the ability to drive two independent displays, it's clear that the nForce2 is in a class all by itself.

Connectivity
With DualNet, the industry's only dual networking architecture to support simultaneous local-area network (LAN) and wide-area network (WAN) connections; support for up to six high-speed USB 2.0 and three FireWire (IEEE1394a) ports; and the world's only integrated Audio Processing Unit (APU) and real-time Dolby Digital encoder, the nForce2 MCP Platform Processors are the heart and soul of the Digital Media Gateway, providing the ultimate in audio, networking and digital connectivity. And, to address the needs of its corporate customers, NVIDIA has integrated a networking controller licensed from a trusted name in Fortune 500 companies-3Com. The addition of the 3Com networking controller ensures corporations and IT departments of software and hardware compatibility with nForce2-based motherboards and PCs, and delivers the reliability and manageability they expect.

NVIDIA SoundStorm
In addition to unveiling its family of nForce2 Platform Processors, NVIDIA also announced NVIDIA SoundStorm, a new audio product aimed at redefining the baseline of PC audio offered as part of an integrated desktop PC platform. PC OEMs and motherboards manufacturers looking to exploit the full functionality of the nForce2 MCP Platform Processor's integrated Audio Processing Unit, six channel analog audio-out, and S/PDIF-out for true Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, will be qualified to use the NVIDIA SoundStorm logo and brand on various marketing collateral and activities, including product marketing materials, box packaging and advertisements.

The AMD desktop PC market represents a huge growth opportunity for NVIDIA, with over 30 million processors already shipped, said Gerry Kaufhold, Principal Analyst at In-Stat/MDR, a market research firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona. NVIDIA's major OEM design wins with their original nForce products set the stage of nForce2, which integrates communications, networking, audio, and, or course, world class graphics, into Platform Processors capable of bringing high-end features into the much larger, mainstream, price range. Personally, I'm looking forward to buying an nForce2-based system, so I can use the built-in dual monitor support in my work, without sacrificing my network connectivity. NVIDIA is about to change the motherboard industry.

The NVIDIA nForce2 Platform Processors are currently sampling to NVIDIA's extensive list of motherboard and system builder partners, including: Abit, ABS, Alienware, Aopen, ASUSTeK, Atlas Micro, Chaintech, Epox, HyperSonic, Leadtech, MSI, Shuttle Computer, Soltec, Totally Awesome, and Vicious PC. Production of nForce2 Platform Processors is slated for late August. Retail products based on the nForce2 Platform Processors will be available in September.

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