First off I’d like to apologize to our readers and NVIDIA for having this article posted a week after the official NVIDIA launch. I thought it would be best to compare the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset to the upcoming Intel 955X Express chipset instead of the older Intel 925XE chipset. Due to price points and launch time frames most consumers are going to be purchasing either the C19 or i955X platforms and not the Intel 915/925 boards because they don’t support dual core technologies. Hopefully you enjoyed the first review benchmarks that compare the two latest chipsets for Intel platforms using identical agressive timings.
I’d to start by saying I was very happy with the performance on NVIDIA’s first Socket T platform for Intel. The memory controller used on the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition is by far superior to the one Intel is currently using on their 955X chipsets. Many know I have been able to hit over DDR2 1.1GHz on my Intel D955XBK reference board, but this was able do be done at loose timings and 2T command rates. On the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition reference board I have been able to get up to 900MHz but with tighter timings and command rates. So far from my testing it seems that the nForce4 SLI Intel edition is better suited for tweakers aiming for tight timings and impressive memory throughput. The Intel 955X chipset is better suited for looking for higher frequencies on their memory as hitting over 1GHz DDR2 is a breeze at loose timings with the 1:2 memory divider.
Other than a huge difference in memory performance the two chipsets are close in terms of general performance. A couple factors might be able to help you pick out which one is best for you though. The nForce4 SLI Intel Edition offers SLI abilities if the consumers want to evoke the use of two identical cards. NVIDA’s SLI technology is very powerful for the gaming/workstation community as it often nearly doubles performance in certain applications. We will be doing an nForce4 SLI battle shortly using our AMD and Intel platforms to see which you should choose for ultimate gaming performance. If you are looking to run multiple cards in the future the answer is clear to us which chipset you should choose.
Pricing on the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition will be a bit higher than the Intel 955X Express based boards, but not too far off. The nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipsets are going for $80 and the i955X Express for $50. With a $30 difference in chipset costs we are expecting to see around a $50 difference passed along to the consumer. We are expecting to see retail motherboards in the near future and may even see improved performance over the reference design!
The Legit Bottom Line
Watch out Intel because now that other companies have a license to make chipsets companies like NVIDIA are coming out with products that challenge your best from the get go!