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           XFX Mach4 nForce2 Ultra 400

Product :

  Motherboard

Manufacturer :

  XFX

Reviewed by :

  Wayne Brooker

Price :

  $90-109 Street Price

Date :

  13th January, 2004.

 

   Page No:   1
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Introduction:::...

Looking back it's amazing to see how many otherwise unknown companies became household names off the back of the insanely popular GeForce 4 series of GPUs. XFX was one such company to ride the wave of NVIDIA success though their parent company, PINE Group technologies, has existed since 1989.

There's no doubt that the nForce 2 has been a massive success for NVIDIA. Even allowing for the early IDE problems and one or two little hiccups along the way, nForce2 is now the AMD platform motherboard of choice for the majority of enthusiasts and mainstream users alike.

While the original nForce2 was a big success it didn't offer official support for memory operating at 200MHz (400MHz FSB) and so the nForce2 Ultra 400 was born and is the chipset on which today's review candidate is based.

As we always do let's skip through the main specs first:

DualDDR Memory Architecture
The NVIDIA nForce2 DualDDR memory architecture provides a no-compromise PC graphics memory solution, allowing everyone to take advantage of today's most intensive applications and get the most performance out of existing memory. Not only can you run multiple applications simultaneously, you can do so without fear that the system will come to a screeching halt. DualDDR raises the bandwidth bar, delivering a 100% increase over current competitive products, and provides the power and performance PCs need to run at their fullest capabilities.

Serial ATA
SATA Offers data transfer rates up to 150MB/s, giving a significant performance improvement in data intensive and bulk storage applications. The Serial ATA interface also offers much simpler and easy to installation thin cabling that will help improve airflow within the system chassis.

Dolby 5.1 Audio
Compared to other integrated sound solutions and add-in sound cards, this APU’s high-level of performance and advanced feature set clearly place it in a class all by itself. It includes plethora of input and output connections, including digital S/PDIF for access to the Dolby(R) Digital 5.1 real-time encoder, microphone, CD, TV, line-in, headphones, front left and right speakers, rear left and right speakers, center channel, and subwoofer.

Built in Ethernet
Integrated 10/100 Ethernet, ideal for LAN and high-speed internet connectivity.
High-Bandwidth USB 2.0 technology
Supports up to 40 times the bandwidth of USB 1.1

ATA-133
ATA-133 is the fastest IDE standard currently available on the market, and allows each IDE controller to burst up to 133MB/s. This offers a significant performance improvement in data intensive professional applications and in consumer applications including gaming, audio and video. The faster interface will also save time when booting up the system and opening new applications.

HyperTransport Technology
A state of the art I/O bus interface, delivering the highest continuous throughput—800MB/s—between the nForce platform processors. Ensures data and information are relayed through the system as quickly as possible

AGP 8X
With the introduction of version 3.0 of the AGP specification and AGP 8X, graphics bus bandwidth doubles, dramatically improving the overall throughput for today’s graphics-intensive applications. In addition, AGP 8X introduces isochronous operation and texturing abilities. NVIDIA is already taking advantage of current and emerging graphics applications by offering the industry’s first and only top-to-bottom family of AGP 8X-ready GPUs and core logic products.

High-Bandwidth USB 2.0 technology
Supports up to 40 times the bandwidth of USB 1.1

IEEE 1394
NVIDIA nForce2 features integrated hardwired IEEE-1394a/FireWire support for quicker uploading and transferring of videos from camcorders and other devices—with no image degradation. IEEE-1394a/FireWire provides a simple, multimedia-oriented, high-bandwidth isochronous interface between computers, peripherals, consumer electronics products such as camcorders, VCRs, printers, PCs, TVs, and digital cameras

Processor
  • AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon XP & AMD Duron
Front Side Bus(MHz)
  • 400/333/266/200
Chipset
  • NVIDIA SPP North Bridge
  • NVIDIA MCP-T South Bridge
System Memory
  • Dual DDR Support
  • (3) 184-pin DDR DIMM Sockets (2.5v)
  • DDR 400/333/266/200 ( PC3200/2700/2100/1600)
  • Support for up to 3GB
Expansion Slots
  • (1) AGP 8x, supports 1.5v Slot
  • (5) PCI (PCI 2.2 compliant)
Onboard IDE
  • (2) ATA 133/100/66 Bus Master IDE
Serial ATA
  • Integrated Serial ATA (150MB/s)
Onboard FDD
  • (1) Floppy Disk Drive (FDD) Connector (Supports Modes, 1.2/1.44/2.88 mb)
Onboard Audio
  • 6 Channel Intagrated Audio
  • AC'97 CODEC
FireWire (IEEE 1394)
  • Integrated IEEE 1394
Onboard Ethernet
  • Integrated 10/100
Onboard I/O
  • (6) USB 2.0/1.1 (4 internal /2 Rear)
  • (2) Serial ATA (150Mbit/s)
  • CD Audio-in Connector
  • Auxiliary-In (AUX) Connector
  • Wake-on-LAN
  • (3) CPU/ Power/Chassis FAN connector
Back Panel Connectors
  • (1) PS/2 Mini-DIN keyboard Port
  • (1) PS/2 Mini-DIN Mouse Port
  • (2) USB 2.0 / 1.1
  • (1) Parallel (25-Pin Female 1284 IEEE Bi-Directional SPP/EPP/ECP mode)
  • (2) Serial (RS-232 Standard 9-Pin Male, 16550 UART compatible)
  • (3) Audio jacks (Line-Out/Line-In/Microphone)
  • (1) RJ-45 Ethernet port
System Monitoring & Management
  • CPU Temperature Monitoring (Flexible Thermo Sensor)

  • CPU Voltage Monitoring

  • Wake-on-LAN

  • Wake-on-Ring

  • Keyboard-Power-on

  • Timer-Power-on

  • System Power Management

  • AC Power Failure Recovery

Form Factor
  • ATX (305mm x 244mm)

 

Initial impressions are that this is a well featured board with most of the current headline technologies catered for. Let's see what lies behind the specs:

 


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