NVIDIA Rushes Into PCI Express With nForce4

nForce4, nForce4 Ultra, nForce4 SLI

Chipset nForce4 nForce4 Ultra nForce4 SLI
Design Single-Chip Single-Chip Single-Chip
Socket 754/939 939/940 939/940
CPU Support Sempron, Athlon64 Athlon64, Athlon64 FX Athlon64, Athlon64 FX
HT-Link 800 MHz 1 GHz 1 GHz
Memory DDR400
Dual-DDR400 Dual-DDR400
ECC Support No No No
Max. Memory 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
AGP No No No
PCI Express 20 Lanes,16+1+1+1 20 Lanes,16+1+1+1 20 Lanes,configurable
PCI 5x 32 Bit PCI 2.3 5x 32 Bit PCI 2.3 5x 32 Bit PCI 2.3
USB 2.0 10 Ports 10 Ports 10 Ports
Firewire/1394 No No No
UltraATA 2 UltraATA/133 Channels 2 UltraATA/133 Channels 2 UltraATA/133 Channels
Serial ATA 4 SATA Ports 150 MB/s 4 SATA2 Ports 300 MB/s 4 SATA2 Ports 300 MB/s
Networking Native GbE Native GbE Native GbE
SN Engine No Yes Yes
Audio AC97 7.1 Sound AC97 7.1 Sound AC97 7.1 Sound
Firewall 2.0 Yes Yes Yes
nTune Yes Yes Yes
SLI Support No No Yes

Active Armor With Firewall

Active Armor is the name for the first integrated hardware engine for network firewall operations. We don't need to mention the importance of securing your computer from unauthorized access. Now, there is a hardware unit that takes care of TCP/IP packet inspection.

Since conventional software firewalls running under Microsoft Windows consume a considerable amount of processing time (see image above), NVIDIA's approach is to take care of most of the steps required to parse and inspect network packets in hardware. While we did not have the time to do extensive testing of all the nForce4 features, we were at least able to confirm a noticeable drop in CPU usage under high network traffic conditions.

For further information, please consult the following articles, where we already took a look at NVIDIA's firewall:

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