IntroductionATI XPRESS 200 Chipset
Diversification is usually good for business. NVIDIA realised that fact some time ago and, in collaboration with AMD, has produced a succession of chipsets with the nForce moniker. Today, we're up to nForce4, which can sport such goodies as SLI (Scalable Link Interface for NVIDIA cards, naturally) and Native Command Queuing (NCQ) for efficient storage access. The other multimedia giant, ATI, has also been busy in the motherboard chipset field. Its range of IGP-equipped boards have focussed on providing decent integrated video in low-cost package. Indeed, according to ATI, it has shipped over 15-million chipsets in the last 3 years.
ATI, however, has lacked a killer, performance-orientated chipset that's designed to appeal to the enthusiast. The Canadian company has set out to right this wrong and has chosen AMD's Athlon 64 as a base for its all-new XPRESS 200 range. It purports to combine the company's know-how of integrated graphics with high performance and a decent set of features. More importantly and pertinently for us, the XPRESS 200 is also ATI's first stab at PCI-Express glory. That's asking a lot, really. Let's see if ATI can deliver.