NVIDIA's chipset platform has evolved over the last 10 years to become something of a marvel. From their humble beginnings producing chipsets for AMDs Athlon platform, NVIDIA has managed to produce some of the most powerful chipsets on the market. In fact, NVIDIA finally put VIA out of the AMD chipset market.
It took NVIDIA quite some time in order to get its licence to produce chipsets for the Intel platform; it took four generations before NVIDIA would even get a P4 bus chipset to market. The nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition chipset was the first, but it simply couldn't keep up with the Intel chipsets on the market. Its overclocking was shocking, and its compatibility with some of the Pentium D processors was horrendous.
Next came the 590SLI Intel Edition chipset; this was extremely short lived, and in fact only a couple of boards were ever made, though they were never released to the market. The 590SLI Intel Edition used a new MCP, the same one that was used on AMDs 590SLI chipset. The real problem however, was that the nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition Northbridge was used again, leaving it with horrible overclocking and a lack of extensive support for processors that left it highly problematic.
The 600i series chipsets were extremely popular; a totally redesigned chipset with new overclocking and CPU support for the Intel Core 2 range of CPUs which gave NVIDIA more of a boost. Furthermore, its overclocking was extremely impressive, bringing SLI to the Core 2 market.
The first high performance 700 series chipset from NVIDIA for the Intel market was the 780i. This chipset was again an older chipset with a new part added. Wouldn't you think NVIDIA would learn? - 780i used the 680i Northbridge chipset with a nForce 200 PCI Express to PCI Express 2.0 bridge chip to give the 780i its PCI Express 2.0 compatibility; poor planning here NVIDIA.
The 790i is the first chipset from NVIDIA to be re-designed totally. 790i has its own PCI Express 2.0 controller built into the chipset along with a new memory controller for DDR3 memory with support for EPP 2.0, and today we have ZOTAC's high performance motherboard to play with.
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