Full Power: NVIDIA Attacks With nForce2

NVIDIA is a company with an exemplary success story. While the chip sector struggles with difficult economic conditions, NVIDIA has been able to report increasing stock values. The nForce chipset, launched about a year ago, was the only thing that couldn't keep up with the star career of the GeForce graphics accelerator - despite its many technical innovations and a famous brand name. What happened?

There was certainly nothing wrong with the features. Even today, the nForce420/D is the only chipset that has a dual-channel memory interface. Only Intel's E7500 is also able to support the use of DIMMs in pairs, which concentrates the bandwidth and increases overall performance. However, this chipset is reserved for use in servers, and is therefore more expensive.

The delays at NVIDIA were significant - it was only months after the official release that nForce-based products were actually available. nForce motherboards didn't come out until Q4 in 2001. Many manufacturers balked at the high price of the chipset, and with good reason, because the latest products from VIA and SiS at the time (KT266A, KT333, SiS745) were offering the same performance at considerably lower prices.

What made things even more difficult was that there were hardly any users who really wanted the integrated graphics offered by the nForce. Even though the performance was on par with the GeForce2 MX, this wasn't interesting anymore, especially not six months after the product launch. On the one hand, its 3D performance was too weak, and on the other hand, the price of the chipset was too high to be used for PCs in an office context. Paradoxically, NVIDIAs fast product cycle for 3D chips was the thing that tripped up the nForce chipset.

With the nForce2, NVIDIA makes up for this in two aspects: for one thing, the chipset has been brought to the highest level of technology, which clearly targets the higher end of the market; also, NVIDIA has given the nForce2 a modularity that can meet the needs of all market segments.