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NVIDIA nForce5 chat

On the 23st of May held a chat with NVIDIA regarding their new nForce5 chipset. this article contains a cleaned up transcript from that chat.


On the 23st of May 2006 we held a chat with NVIDIA talking about their new nForce5 chipset. The NVIDIA people present were:

  • BDR: Bryan Del Rizzo
  • Sean_NV: Sean Cleveland
  • NVIDA_tap: Tom Petersen, director of tech marketing for nForce

Below is a cleaned up transcript from the chat.

<Mousiness> will there be quad-sli supported in 570 chipsets?
<BDR> We support Quad SLI on any NV chipset
<BDR> that supports SLI of course

<Geo3d> How has the partner reaction to the auto OCing been:?
<NVIDIA_tap> Overclocking support on our chipset has been well recieved.

<Mousiness> will nvidia ever make chipsets for conroe?
<NVIDIA_tap> We will support future intel processors on nForce
<BDR> NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI is available for Intel platforms too

<Kougar> It is rumored that nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition will support LinkBoost, is this true and which other nVidia chipsets will support Linkboost, if any?
<NVIDIA_tap>our 590 for Intel will not support Linkboost at launch

<Alpha736> what is the planned lifespan of the nForce 500 series?
<NVIDIA_tap> As long as folks love it.  We are still selling nf3.

<Tuan> Will NVIDIA ever support CrossFire on nForce 590 SLI
<NVIDIA_tap> no

<BJ3D_SAMSAMHA> the new chipset looks really nice and has nice features.  I am curious have you guys tested it with the old Maxtor HD that has the incompatibility with NF3/4 chipsets?
<NVIDIA_tap> We do extensive interoperability testing.  If I recall there was a Maxtor bug that needed an update a while back
<NVIDIA_tap> A firmware update for the drive

<Tuan> This SLI-Ready Memory, is there any word on existing manufacturers implementing support for it?
<BDR> which manufacturers are you talking about?
<NVIDIA_tap> We have seen a lot of interest and adoption.  I expect major announcements over the next few days from significant DIMM providers
<Tuan> motherboard manufacturers
<Tuan> err implementing support on existing chipsets
<NVIDIA_tap> ASUS already suopports it on 590.

<Alpha736> will the nForce 500 still be around for DDR3/FBDIMM support? or will that be a future chipset?
<NVIDIA_tap> No support that I know of on older chipsets.  Who knows how it will eveolve though.

<BJ3D_SAMSAMHA> has nvidia planning to do anything with the power usage of the chipset/heat as reported in techreports?
<NVIDIA_tap> Power is a key criteria for many designs, but power is also sometimes related to performance.  We will continue to improve or power/performance ratio over time.

<KngtRider> Now that NVIDIA is focusing on platform strategy and branding, will there be a system logo/badge program for systems that are powered by NVIDIA just like your competitor has?
<NVIDIA_tap> We have SLI.

<Alpha736> how does the whole “Trinity” system that i’ve been hearing about work?
<Tuan> “Tritium”
<Sean_NV> What is that?
<BDR> There is nothing called Trinity. Tritium was the code name for our reference board only. That is it. There is no Tritium program, no Tritium certification program, nothing. It is not a brand name and you will not see it in anything.
<Alpha736> here is one of the links where i heard about trinity
<BDR> the inquirer was incorrect.
<Alpha736> i heard “trinity” would be a technology to “OC” the PCI-E bus when using an nVidia card along with the new nForce 500 series chipset, are you telling me that no technology like that exists?
<Tuan> Alpha736, thats LinkBoost
<Sean_NV> Correct Tuan, that is LinkBoost

<lkraven> When do you expect 500 series Conroe motherboards to begin appearing in the retail channel?
<NVIDIA_tap> No comment on conroe since we don;t control the channel, but we expect boards to be availabe at launch
<BDR> Conroe boards will start to show up sometime in the June time frame…
<Tuan> Any idea on the partners that will have products for launch?
<BDR> yes, but we can’t disclose them today

<volt> question: will nforce5 require more power (on average) than its predecessor?
<NVIDIA_tap> Back to the power question, nF5 uses slight more power then equivalent nF4 systems…but not a significant difference at the system level.

<Scott> What motherboars that have been announced for nForce 500 have full nTune 5 support
<Sean_NV> The Foxconn C51XEM2AA motherboard has full support for nTune 5.0
<NVIDIA_tap> Foxconn support nTune5.0, ASUS is not fully compliant….but we hope to see this change in the future.  Direct the question to the mobo manufactures.

<KngtRider> Is it possible for a vendor to implement the second pata channel on nf5 boards ?
<NVIDIA_tap> Nope.

<BJ3D_SAMSAMHA> current chipset does not seem to have integrated graphic, do nvidia plan to have integrated graphic with nf5?
<NVIDIA_tap> We will continue to improve our integrated offerings.  what they are called in TBA.

<SwedBear_Bjorn3D> Q: Did I miss something or is Active Armour (firewall) still available with nForce5?
<NVIDIA_tap> Active Armor is no longer available in nF5
<Sean_NV> Nope, ActiveArmor is gone
<Alpha736> is there going to be anything to replace activearmor?
<NVIDIA_tap> Why?  We support most major firewalls.
<NVIDIA_tap> The idea is that we want to add value when we see an oppurtunity.  Firewalls have matured to the point where our best strategy is to support exisiting products.  As Microsoft standardizes an API for hardware acceleration of firewalls…we will be there.
<Sean_NV> and everyone with NF4 and NF5 MCPs will benefit from hardware support once MS adds support for their API to their firewall

<volt> question: consumers demand Soundstorm tech, is NVIDIAs stance the same? — no more Sandstorm even though the market is into it?
<KngtRider> Sandstorm ? :p
<BDR> SoundStorm is dead. RIP.
<Tuan> Long live High Definition Audio with Dolby Digital Live.

<BJ3D_SAMSAMHA> hehehe:), so is nvidia has any plan to implement nf5 into laptop chipsets?
<NVIDIA_tap> Again we will continue to improve our mobile products.  Names are TBA
<BDR> yes, we have plans to migrate the nForce 500 series to mobile platforms. TBA.

<Alpha736> will the nForce 500 have complete support for AMD’s CPU codenamed “brisbane”?
<BDR> what is Brisbane?
<Alpha736> brisbane is AMD’s 65nm cpu to be released  in H1 of 2007
<NVIDIA_tap> We will support all AM2 CPUs from AMD

<Tuan> The nForce 5 family has various features that would be useful in a workstation/server such as DualNet and FirstPacket, will we see an updated nForce Pro with the same features?
<NVIDIA_tap> yes
<Sean_NV> stay tuned 😉
<NVIDIA_tap> i mean …stay tuned

<KngtRider> How are you progressing on your promised (from the last chat) unified driver update that supports all nForce platforms? The driver matrix for nForce still seems fragmented, espeically when new products are considered, and the number of community driver remixes is increasing.
<NVIDIA_tap> We are working on it.
<Sean_NV> Tom is the right guy to ask
<NVIDIA_tap> Do you all know
why this is a tough problem?
<Scott> Driver will be huge!!!!!
<NVIDIA_tap> nope
<Tuan> Is it because each chipset has so many changes its hard to unify?
<NVIDIA_tap> nope
<KngtRider> regression testing ?
<NVIDIA_tap> YEs!
<NVIDIA_tap> Regression testing is a big deal for us….as our matrix of products grows…so does the testing
<KngtRider> awww, i was going to say cause it was cause us press keep bugging you  !
<NVIDIA_tap> What do you do when you find a bug in one product?  get a fix and start over on all of them?  We are sinifcantly increaseing our Q/A resources to make it happen.
<SwedBear_Bjorn3D> Q: I might have missed this earlier – but I’m a HTPC guy always looking for good HTPC stuff. Any plans on Nforce5 mobos with intergrated graphics and HDCP HDMI output planned?
<NVIDIA_tap> Again…all future names and products are going to get a big….maybe..or TBA
<NVIDIA_tap> so on your specific question…maybe, TBA

<Tuan> LinkBoost is said to support GeForce 79xx series graphics cards, will we see support for it with other GeForce 7 cards such as the 7600 or 7800?
<NVIDIA_tap> Future GPUs will support Linkboost.

<BJ3D_SAMSAMHA> am I correct that the only difference between the 590 and 570 is virtually linkboost for the sli, the other features, such as FirstPacket Technology, etc are all the same.
<Tuan> BJ3D_SAMSAMHA, dual PCI Express x16 on the 590
<Sean_NV> nForce 590 SLI supports dual X16 PCIe, LinkBoost, SLI-Ready Memory, extreme overclockability
<Tuan> Sean_NV, i thought 570 supported SLI Ready memory?
<Sean_NV> nope

<lkraven> Is the Intel launch of 590 also today, or is that launch slated for some time in the near future?
<NVIDIA_tap> Yes 590 Intel launched today

<Tuan> Wasn’t it said that any BIOS can support SLI Ready memory with a proper BIOS since its just extra SPD programming?
<NVIDIA_tap> SLI memory is about certified compliance…not sjust a BIOS

<Alpha736> this question isn’t directly nForce 500 related, but with dual X16 PCI-E, how many channels does this leave for additional x1 or x4 slots?
<Sean_NV> The nForce 590 SLI supports 46 PCIe lanes (18 lanes in SPP and 28 lanes in MCP)

<volt> back to MCP, has transistor count increased significantly?
<NVIDIA_tap> No comment on transistor counts

<Kougar> Could you give an estimate as to how long after Conroe’s launch until LinkBoost will be fully supported on the Intel platform? Will this require a new nForce5 part?
<NVIDIA_tap> Per ealier guidance….maybe, TBA

<Alpha736> is there any aditional information you can tell us on how linkboost works?
<Sean_NV> sure thing
<NVIDIA_tap> Linkboost BIOSs detect the correct NVIDA GPU cards and raise specs to meet higher guaranteed levels
<SwedBear_Bjorn3D> Q: What will that realistically mean for the end-user? a few % more fps or a substantial boost?
<NVIDIA_tap> Of course that depends on booth the application and the system configuration.
<NVIDIA_tap> I have seen reviews today that claimed little benefit and others that reported a substantial improvement

<Alpha736> is there going to be a way to enable/disable linkboost, useful incase linkboost causes problems for a user?
<NVIDIA_tap> users can always manually change settings.  But Linkboost just works.  We qual the GPUs and the MCPs to work together.
<BJ3D_SAMSAMHA> so in order to use linkboost, I guess you need the 590 and compatible graphic card (ie 7900 and higher)
<NVIDIA_tap> Bingo!
<Sean_NV> Yes, LinkBoost can be disabled. On the Foxconn board, you set the speeds back to their defaults, but as Tom said, we guarantee that it works, so why turn it off?
<Sean_NV> it works automatically
<NVIDIA_tap> Although to clarify….We do not say today “and higher”.  Linkboost works on 7900 and selected future GPUs
<SwedBear_Bjorn3D> Is it just on the motherboard side it does it’s magic or does it also raise clocks on the GPU?
<NVIDIA_tap> The PCIe clocks are raise magically…GPU clocks are still controled by the user
<KngtRider> for the invidual slot or all ?
<NVIDIA_tap> Inidivigual slot
<NVIDIA_tap> or both slots in an SLI configuration.  BTW, I will be at PDXLan this Friday with the fastest PC on planet (using air cooling)

<Alpha736> what is the maximum memory supported on a nForce 500 series chipset? i’m assuming 4 slots, with 1GB/slot?
<NVIDIA_tap> Hard quations since we don;t build the memory controller.  We have seen both high frequency (up to 1066) and low latency memory working with AM2

<Tuan> How high has NVIDIA gotten a processor on nForce 590 SLI
<NVIDIA_tap> We have an overclocker guide that shows some of our results.

<lkraven> Besides the memory controller for Conroe, are there any other major differences between the chipset for AMD and Intel processors?   Are there going to be features not available for one platform that are available for the other?
<NVIDIA_tap> There will be feature difference.  Linkboost is one example.
<Sean_NV> yes, the Intel SPP will have a memory controller

A big thanks to NVIDIA and all who came to the chat and ask questions. Hopefully we can follow up this chat at a ltaer date when more people have bought the nForce5 motherboards and have more questions about it.

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