Computex: NVidia takes wraps off integrated chipset

Called nForce, the chipset, which supports Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) Athlon and Duron microprocessors, includes an IGP (integrated graphics processor) and an MCP (media and communication processor).

The nForce chipset replaces the Northbridge-Southbridge chipsets used in current Athlon-based and Duron-based motherboards and offers performance comparable to add-in graphics cards, said Tony Tamasi, senior director of product management at graphics chipset maker NVidia.

The nForce IGP includes NVidia's TwinBank memory architecture, which provides a 128-bit memory interface that supports 266MHz DDR (double data rate) memory. It also includes an integrated NVidia GeForce 2 graphics processor, and NVidia's DASP (dynamic adaptive speculative pre-processor) smart-cache technology. Able to predict which data will be required by the CPU (central processing unit), DASP grabs and stores data before it is required by the processor, maximising the efficiency of the front-side bus and providing a 20 per cent increase in performance for Athlon and Duron systems, Tamasi said.

The NVidia MCP includes HyperTransport technology licensed from AMD, which provides an 800MB per second interface between the MCP and IGP, as well as the audio processor that was originally developed for the Microsoft Xbox, Tamasi said. Other features offered by the MCP include the ability to maintain dedicated bandwidth to peripherals, such as a CD burner, and support for USB (universal serial bus) and the network standard HomePNA 2.0, among others, he said.

The nForce chipset is expected to ship this spring. Pricing was not available.

At the launch, nForce-based motherboards from ABit Computer, Gigabyte Technology, Asustek Computer, Micro-Star International and Mitac were on display. In addition, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers is the first PC vendor to announce plans to offer nForce-based systems later this year, Tamasi said.

The Computex exhibition continues through Friday.

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