Tue 09 Oct 2007

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AMD's 4x4 supports four graphic cards

Nforce 680a is a bag of surprises
IF THERE was any doubt that the alliance between Nvidia and AMD was threatened by ATI being swallowed whole, this is still far from the truth.

AMD asked Nvidia to create a chipset for its Quadfather launch.

Here is the answer to a big question which has bothered many of our readers. Although 4x4 uses the Opteron processor socket "F", it will not use registered ECC memory. Athlon 64 FX-70/72/74 will ask for regular DDR2 memory modules, with Corsair, Geil and OCZ offering blazingly fast memory for the system. Corsair will get some preference in reviews due to the fact that it sports the so-called "Enhanced Performance Profile", also known as SLI Memory. This was co-developed by Corsair and Nvidia. However, there are now over five different memory manufacturers offering a combined total of 17 different memory kits.

Secondly, it will not only support quad-core Barcelona CPUs, but will support four graphics cards at the same time.

Since the 680a chipset is created from a north bridge and south bridge chipset, there were enough PCIe lanes available to use four PEG (PCI Express Graphics) slots. Two slots come as x16 and two come as x8.

Since Nvidia is touting networking interfaces as an important point for games, you will not be surprised that this feature has got a significant upgrade. The Nforce 680a chipset will be also able to serve as a hardware router, since the chipset comes with no less than four Gigabit Ethernet ports, all using the well-known features of the "Nv Gb Engine".

It will support 12 S-ATA ports and has the ability to have two RAID5 arrays of six drives.

In case you're wondering how this all is possible, the answer is simple. The 680a chipset is nothing more than two nForce 590SLI chips placed on the same motherboard. Hypertransport is very flexible and ATI Crossfire is not mentioned anywhere. µ

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