nForce2 On The Climb: Three New Boards Put To The Test
About three months ago, NVIDIA took the performance crown among Athlon chipsets with its nForce2 chipset. Today the competition from SiS and VIA have nothing that can match the American chipmaker's power chipset, even if work on products with more oomph is already going at fever pitch.
Now, three more manufacturers have joined nForce2's triumphal procession: Abit, Biostar and MSI. The secrets to nForce2's success are, one, its dual-channel SDRAM interface and, two, its wide range of features.
nForce2 was the first consumer chipset to offer support for two DDR channels. The choice is between DDR333 or DDR400, although the latter usually doesn't add anything to performance. Among its practical highlights are the support for two network controllers, FireWire/USB 2.0 and Dolby Digital Sound.
nForce2 is also fully equipped for the coming AMD processor generation. The new Athlon, codenamed Barton, offers an L2 cache expanded to 512 kB and turns out FSB clock speeds of 166 MHz.
This article compares the Asus A7N8X, Leadtek WinFast K7NCR18D and Chaintech 7NJS nForce2 boards tested two months ago with the three latecomers, Abit NF7-S, Biostar M7NCG and MSI K7N2-L.
You will find the first nForce2 article here: Athlon On The Fast Lane: Three Motherboards with nForce2-Chipset and Dual-Channel DDR