NVIDIA and Apparent SLi on P4 (C19)
It is no secret that high end parts are not the volume in any market; the reason they are made is for 2 key reasons – for the enthusiast and for the press. The press love to write about them and the enthusiasts love to show off and talk about them. We call it ‘willy waving’, and our lead hardware reviewer, Rys, always has the biggest, so I’m told.
NVIDIA today acknowledged that they ‘love’ the enthusiast. But before you all go and have a shower in the expectation of a buxom NVIDIA rep turning up on your doorstep to spread the ‘love’, let us explain. What NVIDIA mean is each enthusiast passes information on to no less than 30 people on average. So, whilst this may not sell the high end cards for you – it will help sell the midrange and budget cards. The enthusiast and his ‘mine is bigger’ attitude is an key influencer in the market.
Currently, NVIDIA are working away on delivering SLi to the masses with full support for the Intel platform – this is currently working under the codename of C19. This platform will support the P4 in LGA775, with DDR2 and PCI-E (Dual ‘16’ lanes).
But NVIDIA are not only a silicon design house or GPU designers. They also believe they need to develop and support the software for the platforms. One such new release is that of profiles, where the system detects what you’re running on the system and will manipulate the clocks on the graphics card and CPU in order to be able to deliver silent DVD playback for your media centre box and the like. So when you play a game it will ramp up the clocks and we will see the system in full performance. The elitists may argue that this brings easy over clocking to the masses, but surely not needing to know your memory timings might actually make you a tad less boring down the pub?
Within the new P4 platform, NVIDIA will also have all of the other key functions of nForce4 present. One of these key areas is the security, not only of the system in the form of the integrated firewall, but that of the resilience of the disk subsystem, so Raid 0, 1, 5 support will be present. They also acknowledge that overclocking performance is important too.
The C19 solution will also support full SLi on the P4 platform, but we suspect NVIDIA will deliver a number of different SKUs which will give lower price points just like on the AMD nForce4 solutions.
As with Intel, NVIDIA are moving to be a solutions provider, they want to deliver the hardware and the software in order to have a solution which works – rather than the NVIDIA or Intel of olds which just concentrated on the silicon product and let everyone else worry about how to get the best out of it.
One such solution is that of software which helps you identify which hard drive has failed in your RAID array. This will help flag which drive needs replacing via the SATA controller display showing which port is down – and if it is a drive failure or a physical disconnect. Anything that saves a bit of head scratching is good news to us.
NVIDIA have seen massive adoption of SLi in Q4 2004 and believe that this market segment will grow even more. The price point of the mainboards is very compelling to end users. Let’s see how they do with their new solutions based product offer, and hope for some more ‘love’ for the willy wavers.
Update: Spy Shots are in!