The increased Hyper Transport bus hasn't really given us much of a performance increase in everyday use computing. Saying that, when we start utilizing multiple hard disk drives, Gigabit networking and more we will see the performance won't be affected anywhere near as much since the bandwidth is now available to power all these devices to their maximum potential. While we were testing the motherboard the 250 MCP became quite hot so it is worth noting that if you are looking at purchasing an nForce3 250 retail motherboard that it does include a heatsink even if it is simply a passive unit.
The nForce3 250 is quite a jump from the original nForce3 150 - not performance wise but in what it offers on the features front. While video card/CPU/memory performance hasn't increased, we have been given more bandwidth to play with in the Hyper Transport bus which in tern gives us faster networking and hard disk drive efficiency since the controller chip is directly connected into the MCP with very little latency compared to regular off chip solutions.
The nForce3 250 gives you the ability to add more devices to your motherboard without it affecting performance due to the intelligent design of the majority all in one chipset solution from the folks at nVidia which we will see more and more of in the future.
The ability to increase performance on K8 based motherboards is quite difficult due to the memory controller being on the CPU and AGP 8X already being utilized to its fullest. All of this results in chipset producers, such as nVidia, having to think more creatively about new features and increasing performance on current technology as we have seen in the case of the nForce3 250 which nVidia has clearly done a brilliant job with this time around.
Right now nVidia's nForce3 250GB is our chipset of choice for the AMD Athlon 64 platform.
- Increased Hyper Transport Bus performance
- Good performance on par with other K8 chipsets
- Actual working PCI lock
- Native Gigabit controller
- Native SATA and PATA controller
- 2 extra USB 2.0 ports
- Decreased PCI bus usage
- Excellent Stability
- Upside down MCP (Just Kidding!)
Rating - 9.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Editors Choice Award
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