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The Dual Graphics Platform Battle, Part 1


Our take on the ATI and NVIDIA dual graphics chipsets provides closure to a number of assumptions. The nForce4 SLI chipset family clearly provides the better feature set and currently is superior for the enthusiast who wants it all. ATI cannot provide 300 MB/s SATA or Native Command Queuing by itself, which is why ULi has to jump in to provide a decent south bridge. Still, there is no Gigabit Ethernet solution that could match the nForce4's integrated jack of all trades, and no RAID 5 support.

This discrepancy can also be found when comparing the two Asus motherboards: the A8R-MVP and A8N32-SLI. Clearly, Asus positions the nForce4 board higher than the one with ATI's chipset; the A8N32-SLI has more sophisticated details and some higher quality components.

When it comes to dual graphics, ATI would technically be on par with NVIDIA. However, the delays both with the platform and with the latest dual graphics capable 3D cards are definitely not helpful. In the meantime, NVIDIA managed to heat up the situation by adding the upgraded GeForce 7800 GTX 512.

There is good news for ATI on the performance front, though. If it weren't for the opponent's faster graphics top model, nForce4 SLI would not be able to score any better numbers than Radeon Xpress 200 Crossfire. In fact, both chipsets perform equally well at all the non-graphics benchmarks.

We will take a break in our chipset evaluation here and follow up with a second part soon. It will deal with storage subsystem performance, as well as the overclocking capabilities of Asus motherboards equipped with both the Radeon Xpress and nForce4 SLI X16.