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Review: NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition

by Tarinder Sandhu on 5 April 2005, 00:00


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NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition

The debate over who makes the faster or better desktop processors can rage on through the night. The fact of the matter is that both AMD and Intel are strong in certain areas, and neither company has a bad CPU in the midrange/high-end sectors. Where AMD has had greater allure than Intel in recent months is in top-level gaming circles. Thanks to NVIDIA's collaboration with AMD from way back in the day, and with the recent launch of its SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology that employs two GeForce 6-series cards in tandem for superlative performance, the deep-walleted gaming nut simply opted for an AMD/NVIDIA setup that married Athlon 64 power with massive pixel-pushing ability that two GeForce 6800 GT/Ultras gave in SLI mode.

Just yesterday, however, we saw Intel launch its first dual-core CPU for a desktop environment. Complementing this new technology was a new chipset, the 955X Express. Its most notable feature was the specification of two bridged x16 PCI-Express lanes that match, on paper at least, the capability of NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI for AMD platforms. What Intel has done is inked a cross-licensing agreement with NVIDIA, with NVIDIA receiving chipzilla's front-side bus technology. SLI licenses go the other way, resulting in the 955X Express being SLI-compatible.

NVIDIA has also gained the right to produce chipsets for the Pentium 4. That's a big bonus if you consider that Intel still dominates the desktop market in sheer numbers of chipsets sold. Inevitably, NVIDIA has chosen to debut with a Pentium 4-based chipset that sports SLI straight off. Two days and now two SLI-compliant chipsets for the Pentium 4! That's about the size of it.