ABIT NF7-S nForce2 Motherboard
VIA, the darling and long-term companion of AMD, have had things fairly easily up until now. Looking back on the Athlon and subsequent XP processors, SiS offered VIA some token resistance with their low-budget chipsets. AMD themselves had a go with their AMD760-based motherboard, but that was more to do with getting the Athlon off and running. NVIDIA, the behemoth graphics card firm, last year ventured into the Socket A environment with a technological tour-de-force in their original nForce motherboard. Whilst it matched the incumbent VIA solution on a performance basis, and beat it in the technological and feature stakes, it's relatively high price ensured that VIA could just hold on to their Socket A mantle as #1 chipset maker.
NVIDIA are not a company that's deterred easily. The successor to the original nForce, aptly titled nForce2, promised greater levels of features, performance, stability, and a relatively low market price. Their signature twinbank memory controllers are back, seemingly feed on silicon steroids in the interim months.
We had a look at the revised nForce2 chipset a couple of months ago. If you feel in need of a refresher, head over here for Ryszard's take on it. Quick summation shows that we have support for 333FSB processors, twinbank technology capable of delivering up to 6.4GB/s of potential bandwidth when using dual-channel DDR400, 8x AGP support, USB 2.0, Firewire, dual LAN, excellent audio, and the ability to integrate a GeForce 4 class of GPU.
It looks formidable on paper. Stacked with technology and useful features, ABIT have their interpretation up and raring to go. Taking advantage of almost everything that the nForce2 has to offer, and adding their legendary Softmenu III BIOS and general stability, it should be a sterling performer. Let's find out just what it can do against VIA's finest.