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AMD Athlon 64 Chipset Royal Rumble - December 2003 - nVidia nForce 3 - Soltek SL-K8AN-R Quick Look

AMD has given us mainstream 64-bit processing and now we have a bunch of chipsets to join the joy ride. Today we pit all the newest chipsets from VIA, SIS, nVidia and ALI and find out who our best choice is for our Athlon 64 powered motherboard!

By: | AMD CPUs & APUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Nov 30, 2003 5:00 am

nVidia nForce3


- The Chipset


When it came to the Athlon XP chipset market, nVidia really had it sorted with the nForce 2 chipset. What we intend to do today is find if the performance crown nVidia had in the Athlon XP market has been carried over to the latest 64-bit processors from AMD.


One interesting feature of the nForce 3 chipset is the inclusion of the single chip design instead of the more common Northbridge / Southbridge arrangement that we see on all the other chip designs.


This is nVidia's third chipset to hit the market and doesn't carry anything very astonishing. The nForce 3 brings with it built-in networking (unfortunately it is only 10/100) as well as all your normal AGP features that you have come to expect. Due to the memory controller being built into the processor it really does cut down what you can say about the chipset as it simply adds little things like Serial ATA RAID and onboard audio.


- First Glance


We have chosen to use the Soltek motherboard for the testing of the nVidia nForce 3 chipset as it follows a closer reference design (like the VIA K8T800 we choose to use) which keeps the competition a little fairer. The motherboard has purple running all through it as we have come to expect from Soltek.



The motherboard does look quite attractive and if you're in to the modding scene the extra colors on the motherboard won't go astray. Why some people may prefer another color the purple has definitely become a bit of a trademark for this Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer.


- IO Ports


Soltek have always created quite a plain motherboard and like the VIA K8T800 Soltek motherboard, we see that a lot of the same features are carried over. While the nForce3 model we are looking at does come with onboard LAN, everything else is almost exactly the same.



- Promise SATA again


Like the VIA K8T800 Soltek motherboard, we again see Soltek has chosen to go with the Promise SATA controller.





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