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Chipsets

AMD's Socket 939 Offers More with Much of the Same
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NVIDIA nForce3 250 Ultra

The nForce3 250 Ultra is NVIDIA's top model for Socket 939. However, Iwill demonstrates how the chipset is equally suitable for Socket 940 Opteron solutions. The company will also present a workstation motherboard at Computex that even offers PCI Express. Don't worry, NVIDIA is also working on a PCI Express version of the nForce3.

Our review of the nForce3 250 Gb showed that the latest NVIDIA chipset is superior to SiS and VIA in terms of features, while the performance numbers do not differ very much. Its integrated gigabit Ethernet controller with a built-in firewall definitely is a great value that fits perfectly into the high-end consumer segment that the Athlon64 is supposed to address. NVIDIA uses the suffix Ultra to accentuate the 1 GHz HyperTransport capability.

A nice new feature that NVIDIA offers is AutoTuning. Basically this is nothing more than a hardware-supported overclocking feature. Motherboard manufacturers need to implement AutoTuning into their BIOS in order to offer certain user-adjustable clock increments. If the processor load exceeds certain levels, AutoTuning will automatically increase the HyperTransport clock. A hard-coded thermal limit is always present to prevent hardware failures. We will take a detailed look at AutoTuning when we cover the nForce3 250 Ultra in the near future.

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