NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400Gb MCP PreviewFormer staff writer -
The nForce2 Ultra 400Gb took a commanding lead when looking at how much less CPU usage it uses versus the nForce2 MCP-T. There was also a slight increase in "READ" speed but not enough to make it a major advantage.
HDTach IDE Test
Taking a step back and looking at the total package, not just the new hardware features (Gigabit LAN, Firewall), but the updated software package makes this one of the most full featured boards I have ever seen. A lot of people are saying Socket A is dead, but the nForce2 Ultra 400Gb is a slap in the face to those who said that. With the Cross Controller Raid and built-in Firewall this will make for one hell of a consumer board, or even server board for that matter. I would of like to of gotten a little more intimate with the overclocking options of the board but the early BIOS did not offer any multiplier adjustments. We will have to wait for retail boards to see how overclocking friendly the nForce2 Ultra 400Gb is. The only gripe I have is the missing SoundStorm APU as the SPDIF and Dolby digital encoding is very important to me as I’m sure it is to a lot of you. Other than that this is the Chipset to own if you are looking for Socket A motherboard. Factor in the price of a gigabit network card and a hardware firewall makes this an even more attractive chipset. Ultimately we will have to see what manufacturers have to offer from board layout to I/O configurations. NVIDIA has impressed me once again with there latest incarnation of the nForce2 chipset. More motherboards need to be this feature packed, not just hardware but software wise too. The hardware would be useless with out the awesome driver and system utility package offered by NVIDIA.
We did have a couple of problems with the reference board that we had. When playing audio it sounded as if there was not enough power being delivered to drive the audio, as we could barely hear the audio with the volume on MAX. Hopefully this was just an isolated case with our reference board, or can easily be fixed. I found a small bug in the Network Access Manager, where it would display a page that stated "Page could not be found" when navigating to the log files a specific way. I'm sure this could easily be fixed as it is only a software related bug.
To sum it up, I think NVIDIA has done a good job with the nForce2 Ultra 400Gb and has packed it with many great features like the GigE nic, firewall, and the assortment of RAID options. The native SATA support is also a big plus. I'm looking forward to seeing some vendor boards based on this chipset to see how they take advantage of all the features on the chipset.
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