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Faster and Faster, nForce2: The Latest Boards Put to the Test

NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400

Up to now, there have been two versions of the nForce2 chipset: the standard model with SPP Northbridge (System Platform Processor) and the version with the integrated GeForce4-MX chip that goes by the name of IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor). From now on, this pair will be joined by two new versions, which supersede the SPP entirely. The nForce2 Ultra 400 is based on the SPP, and certain details have been fine-tuned somewhat. As the name itself suggests, this chip can handle the new FSB clock rate of 400 MHz.

The nForce2 400 is leaner with respect to its features, but it is also technically based on the well-known nForce2 family. To cater to the cost pressure exerted by the mass market, this version dispenses with the dual-channel memory interface - thereby rendering a simple and more cost-effective configuration of features with DDR266, DDR333 or DDR400 possible. It is also possible to use the simpler Southbridge MCP instead of the fully equipped MCP-T version. As such, NVIDIA is clearly targeting VIA, since the Taiwanese continue to dominate the Athlon market with KT266A, KT333 and KT400/A.

The nForce2 Ultra 400 is the new top-of-the-range model of the nForce2 family.

We published a detailed test on the nForce2 almost a year ago. This article contains technical information and also applies by and large to both new chips, since neither of the two new versions feature any exceptional new developments.