Nvidia taps DDR330 for next NForce chipsets

Nvidia has ramped up its NForce chipsets to support speedy DDR333 memory. The company is demonstrating its new NForce 615-D and 620-D chipsets, which are shipping in the second quarter. Nvidia is also previewing new NForce chipsets that run DDR400 memory.

Nvidia and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are giving the demonstration at the CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, this week. Boards based on both the 615-D and 620-D are scheduled to be available late in the second quarter from a variety of vendors, such as MSI Computer Corp., Asustek Computer Inc., and Leadtek Research Inc.

"We've been getting a 20 to 28 percent [performance] increase -- pretty substantial," says Bryan Del Rizzo, a Nvidia spokesperson. "And that's all from increased memory bandwidth."

Smaller Jumps

DDR333 memory uses a 167-MHz bus to connect a PC's main memory with the chip set, typically producing a 2.7GB per second throughput. By comparison, currently available DDR266 memory uses a 133-MHz bus, for a maximum throughput of 2.1GB per second.

In a dual-channel platform such as the NForce 615-D or 620-D, DDR333 chipsets provide a total bandwidth pipeline of 5.4GB per second, according to Nvidia. But even with the faster memory, normal application performance won't be heightened as much.

"If you make your memory 50 percent faster, you pick up a 5 to 10 percent performance increase in running applications," says Peter Glaskowsky, an analyst with MicroDesign Resources. "This jump isn't that big, so I'd expect only a few percent performance increase."

End users who buy systems that use integrated graphics will see the greatest increase in performance with the new chipsets. The 620-D includes an integrated graphics chip, while the 615-D does not. Vendors are expected to release boards in both configurations.

Del Rizzo agrees that normal system performance won't leap significantly. "If you're not going to be using integrated graphics, DDR333 isn't that much of a performance [enhancement] yet," he says.

Carl Rowe, a graphics analyst with Forrester Research Inc., says he will hold his enthusiasm in check until the new chipsets come to market.

"It's actually hard to know the performance benefits," he says. "There could be a bottleneck in the graphics processors that makes the additional memory bandwidth irrelevant."

Still, Nvidia expects DDR333 chipsets to make a splash on the market. DDR333 is projected to command market share numbers of 20 to 25 percent, Del Rizzo says.

"If that holds true, there will be large demand for products that support it. That's why we're broadening our entire product family," he says.

What's more, the demonstrations of the NForce 615-D and 620-D running with DDR400 show the next possible generation of system memory.

"DDR400 hasn't been ratified yet," says Del Rizzo. "It'll be a while, if it does come to market. But as far as compatibility issues, we've already got it working."

Analyst Glaskowsky expects to see DDR400 prevalent by the end of the year. "And then we get DDR2 next year--very much like DDR but it runs at lower voltages," he says. "It will come in at 400 MHz and go up from there."

We can expect to see vendors supporting the faster memory soon, the analysts say. "As memory becomes available at commodity prices, everyone supports it. Nobody passes up on faster memory," Gaskowsky says.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joel Strauch

PC World

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?