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ATI, NVIDIA Launch New Chipsets for Socket AM2 134

theraindog writes "The web is swirling with reviews of AMD's new Socket AM2 processors, but they're not the only new chips launching today. ATI and NVIDIA have both introduced new core logic to accompany Socket AM2, and The Tech Report has a comprehensive comparison of the new chipsets. ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 and NVIDIA's new nForce 590 SLI are run through an exhaustive suite of application, peripheral, and power consumption tests with surprising results. The nForce 590 SLI definitely has the edge when it comes to the sheer number of integrated peripherals and extra features, but the CrossFire Xpress 3200's performance is competitive, and its leaner approach pays big power consumption dividends. It looks like ATI may finally have a credible alternative to NVIDIA's domination of the Athlon 64 chipset market."
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ATI, NVIDIA Launch New Chipsets for Socket AM2

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  • Take your pick (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @12:34PM (#15387866)
    On the one hand, you've got Ferrari with its sleek lines and power-packed drivetrain. On the other you've got a McLaren with its race course-styled lines and race track pedigree.

    Which one you spend your money on is up to you and the aesthetics you find more pleasing.

    As for me, I'll stick with my Toyota Corolla and the 42mpg that it gets.
    • I will take the delorean, cause if your gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style.
    • by glsunder ( 241984 )
      This is totally off topic, but do you really have a corolla? If so, how do you like it? I'm thinking of getting one in the near future.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Go for it! The Corolla is like the Honda Civic of Japanese imports.
      • I have _heard_ (and read independant reviews) that the Volkswagon diesel engines are getting ~48-54 mpg highway. I don't know what your buying criteria is, but these are cars the I'm looking at buying.
        • Too bad it's diesel. VW could use some style in its lineup too. Other than the Beetle these are pretty bland cars. And they admit it too with their "low smug emissions" commercials. It's just a marketing tool to push blandly styled cars.
        • 'are cars the' --> 'are the cars'
          previewing didn't help...
        • I used to drive one of them ('98 New Beetle TDI, 5-spd.). Really enjoyed it. After emissions equipment, it only has about 95 HP, but it doesn't feel like it. The engine has a lot of low end torque, and through the manual gearbox it's pretty fun to drive. With the auto, it'd be a misery.

          I used to regularly get between 39 and 44 MPG out of it, and I did a lot of mixed secondary/highway driving. I think if you really drove with economy in mind, it would be closer to 45-50.

          The price of the fuel fluctuates here
      • You may also want to consider a Chevy Prism which is a rebadged Corolla.
    • Re:Take your pick (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      BAG, you're slipping. While you did use a car analogy, it wasn't a particularly bad one. Anyhow, as for me, I'll keep riding my bike. Hey, does anyone know how to perform a POST operation with an abacus?
    • Well,... its more like mainboard which I would be proud to show in my computer and another Barbie gay model which I would be embarassed to show. But anyway, ATI owners, there are still non-transparent cases out so you can relax.

      Is ATI concentrating on usual Barbie collectors with this colors or what?
  • AM2 vs. Conroe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @12:37PM (#15387886)
    Hexus Review [].

    Not entirely on topic, but it is interesting.
  • Well, they did but not in any particular quantity, and pretty much only in the beginning to launch the Athlon off the ground. So what was the problem?
  • by Rorian ( 88503 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @12:53PM (#15387985) Homepage Journal
    Seeing as the ATI board doesn't have a built-in ethernet controller (which honestly seems a little crappy, I thought these things became standard on-board features a year or two ago), and the motherboard only has a limited number of PCI / PCI-X expansion slots (very limited, if you go for an SLI setup, as I'm sure many will).. where is the room for expansion with other devices such as Soundcards, PCMCIA slots (yes, these ARE handy on desktop PCs in my opinion), WiFi cards, TV-Tuners etc?

    It seems to me that you're really limited to just 1-2 additional cards, and not having an in-built ethernet controller really limits flexibility..

    I'm also not 100% sure about having only 1 PATA connector, although this is probably a good thing these days..

    The difference in power consumption just between different motherboards is quite amazing - I have never really paid much attention to the actual motherboard I use in the past, but I guess it is starting to get quite important to over-all system performance these days.
    • That's what I thought when I skimmed through the review. Not including ethernet is a major omission, imho. It seems that ATI really just wants you to buy their mobo and a couple graphics cards.
    • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @01:07PM (#15388095) Journal
      There's a PCIe attached Marvel GigE controller on the ATI chipset based motherboard. It doesn't take up a PCIe slot, it's connected to the northbridge on-board.

      This is also how Intel connect their networking controllers AFAIK. Do all Intel motherboards 'limit flexibility' therefore?

      ATI merely doesn't have an ethernet controller embedded into their southbridge, and I don't blame them if they can let the board makers choose a suitable stand-alone controller that will be better in the end than whatever ATI put in.

      nVidia went the opposite way, and put two GigE controllers with lots of fancy stuff into their southbridge. Great for the 1% of people who need two Ethernet controllers, but I expect it is a side-effect of nVidia's server chipset line which probably shares the southbridge.
    • That the ATI chipset doesn't have a built-in Ethernet controller doesn't mean the motherboard designer can't solder one and hook it up to all those many PCI Express lines that are available on the chipset...
    • If you read correctly you will note that they didn't build it into the CHIPSET - i would bet you would be hard pressed to find a board with that chipset that didn't have a Netcard built in.... personaly i think it makes sence.. it is a chipset designed to talk to devices.. and an network card is designed to talk to the world.. and honestly other companys are better at designing network cards then ATI or nVidia.. let the main board manufacture pick which one to put on.
      • So if the Mainboard manufacturers add these components in, does it not *completely* invalidate any claims of power-efficiency due very likely to the *lack* of these devices?

        Dunno 'bout you, but I'll take the all-in-one package, tested and in widespread use, than a pile of commodity parts thrown together at the last minute. (Which you can bet some of these early ATi boards will look like)

        It's a trade-off, and I don't think it's going to end up in ATi's favor.
        • it doesn't invalidate the power issue. there are far to many variables to cover and honestly no hardware review site has the testing equipment to test how much power a chipset uses .. they are taking relative delta values and shoving them on there web site..

          personaly i don't think it will hurt ATI one bit.. board designers are used to this kind of thing and it will make no diffrence.. except on low end boards expect to see Realtek chips and high end see Intel Pro's or some thing of the like..

          personaly i do
          • stability and consitencey both play heavy in the real world..and can't be repersented on a review site.

            Stability and consistancy can *surely* be represented. A simple battery of tests, followed by burn-in equivilents would do the trick.

            Yes, most review sites focus solely on performance. And I've not been hitting them oft as of late, but I am sure there are some that still look at the whole picture.

    • Seeing as the ATI board doesn't have a built-in ethernet controller (which honestly seems a little crappy

      I'll agree with you there, but...

      It seems to me that you're really limited to just 1-2 additional cards, and not having an in-built ethernet controller really limits flexibility

      Except for graphics cards (which have typically had their own bus since the days of VL - And even though anything can theoretically use x16, nothing does except graphics) and network, what more do you really need?

      TV tun
      • That's funny, you can definitely hear the difference with my turtle beach Montego DDL. Aside from that I haven't seen a graphics card yet come with an HD-TV Tuner. Currently in my comp I've got my vid card, capture card, sound card. So really all you'd need I say is 3 slots. Of course room for a slot cooler would be nice with the heat output of most vid cards today. I was shocked when my new vid card ran hotter than my processor. Oh well, there are plenty of manufacturers out there. SLI isn't a huge issue b
        • You won't see a card with a non-OTA HDTV tuner in it because HDTV is the Sacred Cash Cow of the Networks and needs to be protected at all costs from the Evil Computer Pirates by loads of DRM. You might see them as standalone boxes that require authentication tokens like CableCards and such, but they will probably use an encrypted cable connection to a proprietary app on the computer with a TPM that only makes DRMed files.

          I only have one card in my computer, a little PCIe GeForce 6200TC running my two monito
    • by DataPath ( 1111 )
      TFA said that the ATI chipset doesn't include the ethernet controller, BUT PROVIDES PCI-E LINKS TO WHICH MOTHERBOARD MANUFACTURERS CAN CONNECT ONE.

      It's really quite common for motherboard manufacturers to have to add an extra one of their own in order to provide GigE ethernet, or to work around a buggy chipset, or for whatever other reason.

      The chipset also does nothing to limit the number of PCI/PCI-X slots. Again, the motherboard manufacturer can drop an inexpensive PCIe/PCI bridge there, and suddenly you
    • I'm also not 100% sure about having only 1 PATA connector, although this is probably a good thing these days..

      How is this a good thing? Go to Newegg and try to find a DVD burner with a SATA interface. I found two, and they run $100.

      This is really no limitation as long as you want only one optical drive. But if you want two (like I do), then you have both of them sharing an interface. In Korea, only old people have two drives per interface. If you happen to want three drives for whatever reason, then

    • PCI-X is an extention to the PCI standard that was available in workstations and servers, which was available I think starting around 2002. It used the 64 bit PCI slot and allowed it to operate at up to 133MHz, I am not sure if 266MHz ever made it to production). It was primarily used for high speed RAID and network cards.

      True to historical form, PCI-Express group made a completely different, incompatible standard (electrically and physically) but still used the same name. If you want a video card, you w
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @01:00PM (#15388034) Journal
    I've recently started trying to build my new systems to draw as little power as possible. I've done fairly well at it, too (largely thanks to the 90nm Athlon 64s, although I'll keep my eyes on Intel's new offerings), with not a single system in my house sucking over 100W at the wall.

    But I have to admit, it never even occurred to me that the chipset alone could account for (over) 20W difference between systems - And that only considers the difference between the two, not the absolute draw. I had previously focused on the CPU, then the GPU, then HDDs, in that order.

    With the current trend in power consumption, it looks like my next system will focus on the GPU first, then Northbridge, then CPU, then HDDs! Holy reversals, Batman!

    What next - Should I worry just how much power my fans and ever-growing number of parts with numerous LEDs draw? I never considered them as a significant draw, either...
    • What do you expect of something that needs a heat sink and fan? Granted, it is smaller than that of the common CPUs and faster GPUs, I currently don't run a graphics card that has a fan and the heat sink is pretty small.
    • is it fullbore or idle? What are you building your boxes with? I've been wanted to build a low power computer but it looks expensive and you're stuck with something what can't be upgraded, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
      • you answered. whoops.
        • you answered. whoops.

          Actually, I didn't quite answer one of your questions...

          My Epia machines have almost no upgradeability, but their job will basically never change (my internet gateway will work fine until the day I get fiber-to-the-home, and my file server has one PCI slot which will suffice to fill it with more drives than the case itself will hold).

          My desktop machines currently have single-core Athlon 64s, but support X2s (though socket 939 has apparently neared the end of its life, so...). The
  • Linux support (Score:2, Interesting)

    by martok ( 7123 )

    One of the reasons we haven't been able to move to athlon64 is the lack of Linux support on the nforce5 chipsets. In particular, SATA NCQ has never worked and afaik, they required an NDA for the ATA developers to work on this. I've also heard the ethernet has some issues. So let's hope these chipsets open up a bit.

    Intel's chipsets have excellent Linux support BTW from the open ahci SATA to the e1000 ethernet drivers.

    • I have had good luck with both several Intel chipsets (845MP, 855GM, E7530) and NVIDIA's Nforce4 chipset in Linux. Some earlier versions of the "forcedeth" driver had issues, but the current one is very stable. I have never had chipset-related troubles in Linux. The only problem I have ever even had with hardware is a Windows PocketPC that won't sync with SynCE, but that's probably a different case...
    • Then you'll be glad to hear that ATI's new southbridge, the SB600, has AHCI SATA.
      At least, that's what I read on ref=y []
  • tried it twice.
  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @01:35PM (#15388254) Homepage Journal
    In conjunction with this, nVidia are also today releasing their new Series 90 [] of drivers for Windows, the biggest visible change is a new configuration panel interface [].
  • *Raises his hand* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @01:42PM (#15388288) Journal
    Does anyone else remember when VIA was a big player in the chipsets? Like seriously, what happened to Via? I hardly see any AMD boards using Via chipsets anymore, most the new ones were all nForce until ATI started theirs as well...
    • Re:*Raises his hand* (Score:1, Informative)

      by ltcdata ( 626981 )
      Here you are: "VIA Announces Comprehensive AMD Chipset Support for Socket AM2 Transition VIA delivers full line of solutions for upcoming range of AMD products including the latest AMD Athlon(TM) 64 FX-62 and AMD Athlon(TM) 64 X2 5000+ dual-core processors" archive/pr060523AMDSocketAM2.jsp []
      • Seriously, there are three major chipset vendors. This article should read "ATI, NVIDIA and VIA Launch new chipsets for Socket AM2." Thanks for the link.
    • I'm waiting for the VIA chipsets. I expect they will support AGP, and will be cheaper due to not having features I'm uninterested in.

      On the other hand, I may just get a 754 chipset sempron in a month, instead of waiting.
    • I'll tell you what happened to Via; cheap shit that crashed all the time. I refuse to by ANYTHING with Via in it. Personal bias aside, VIA did actually get left behind in the cheap category where they used to dominate. As AMD started to push into the high performance market with more expensive CPUs, people opted for more expensive boards with them which left VIAs biggest market in AMD chipsets sort of out in the cold. VIA also has higher end stuff, but it was Nvidia chipsets that were first to really
      • That was definitely true back in the AthlonXP days (I fought with the KT266? chipset for longer then I care to think about).

        Not so true anymore.

        I have an Asus A8V motherboard that I use for a Gentoo server and I've had very good results. I think that's using a KT800 chipset. I've used a few other more recent VIA chipsets without problems as well. (Mostly 64bit systems.)

        So right now, I have no real bias against either NV or VIA chipsets. Neither have bitten me in the past few years. I typically bu
    • They made one chipset that some people had some compatibility issues with ; most of which can be overcome, I know, I had some and then I didn't.

      The people who weren't able to fix their issues were extremely vocal, of course, and public opinion swayed away from VIA. Which is too bad, I've been extremely pleased with my VIA-equipped boards.
  • If the ATi chipset drivers are anything like their graphics card drives (bloated and buggy), then no way! nVidia's nForce line has never let me down, I for one will stay with the nForce line.
    • agreed.

      first chipset was AMD 762

      second was nVidia nForce 2 Ultra

      third was nVidia nForce 4 Ultra

      fourth was nVidia nForce 6150/430 (current)

      fifth will be nForce 570 SLI in mATX format when one is made.

      not that i care about the SLI, but the extra PCI-E 8x slot will be invaluable.
  • by Malor ( 3658 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @02:34PM (#15388611) Journal
    Last year, I was trying to build a HTPC, and bought a little SFF box. It had an ATI chipset inside... what a complete piece of shit it was. The drivers were awful, and the USB never really worked right. The system was connected via USB wireless, and I could rarely copy more than a 25mb file or so before the ENTIRE USB SUBSYSTEM would lock up... wiping out keyboard, mouse, everything. Ended up having to do a hard power off every single time. Turns out this was a widely known problem and, to my knowledge, it was never fixed. That SFF was a complete waste of money, a total loss. I should have just lit a few hundred-dollar bills on fire.... at least it wouldn't have taken all the troubleshooting time.

    After my previous experience with the dismal ATI graphic drivers, particularly in OpenGL, they are on my shitlist for at least the next three or four years. The hardware may be good, but who can tell with drivers that suck that badly?

    I'd suggest steering WAY clear of any ATI chipset.
    • Sorry to hear that you had to waste your cash to find out, but remember, research the hell out of anything before buying! The ATI USB chipset issue was known about quite quickly, and became very wideknown. Their mobo's with the ULI chips are great, their new chipset seems to work pretty well too, judging from this article.

      Balmer style - Research! Research! Research!

      • Honestly, I didn't even realize it had an ATI chipset to start with... somehow I missed that in the specs when I was ordering. I just assumed it was Intel. Stupid me.

        Doesn't change the fact that that chipset was completely unstable, and in the SFF, ended up wasting a chassis, a tiny motherboard, and a power supply.

        They should have fallen all over themselves to make it right, and instead left everyone twisting in the wind with useless hardware. ATI is on my shitlist for a LONG time.
    • Everyone has their own personal experiences, some hate ATI, some hate Nvidia. I'm not familiar with ati's mobo chipsets but I do own a nForce4 board and I am quite pleased with it. From what I've seen the nforce4 boards perform better, and the new features of nforce5 look awesome. I would definitely go nforce over ati chipset on your mobo.

      As for their graphic cards, I've been buying ATI cards since the last 2 nvidia cards I bought had shitty stock coolers where the fan dies after a month of use, not to m
  • Hardware sites sure know how to make me feel good about my purchase.

    "NVIDIA's nForce4 chipset family was introduced more than a year and a half ago, so it's long overdue for a replacement".

    Dam you Techreport!

    Btw a Passively cooled 7600GS from Newegg for $99 AR is a dam fine "budget" GPU choice.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard