Monday, December 15th 2008

NVIDIA's Atom Chipset Supports SLI

Picture this: a nettop/netbook/ULPC chipset that supports a gamer-grade feature such as NVIDIA SLI. Well, that's about become a reality with a certain variant of the MCP7A chipset NVIDIA is preparing for the Intel Atom processor. VR-Zone has learned that the chipset would offer all features essential to platforms it caters to, plus offering integrated GeForce graphics and supporting external graphics, including support for 2-way NVIDIA SLI. The root complex would connect to two discrete graphics devices with 8 PCI-Express lanes each.

The 'essential' features this chipset brings to the table include support for PC2-6400 memory standard (up to four DIMM slots), six SATA II channels, twelve USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE 1394 and HD Audio. There is yet another chipset in the pipeline, the MCP79 for pico-ATX and SFF platforms, which supports a single DDR3 memory channel, integrated GeForce graphics with DVI-D and HDMI support.Source: VR-Zone
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19 Comments on NVIDIA's Atom Chipset Supports SLI

#1

Defeats the point of the entire platform, power efficiency...
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#2
a111087
sLi? what for? wouldn't that be close to useless considering target use for the atom CPU?
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#3

nVidia has gone full retard? :D :roll:
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#4
Katanai
by: insider
nVidia has gone full retard? :D :roll:
Maybe the platform is not intended only for Atom, that's why they are including SLI. Anyway the only thing I'm thinking about now is the Holy Eeemulator :laugh:
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#5

There are mini ITX Atom boards, but again its low profile/heat/power consumption, nVidia pimping their SLI crap again! :laugh:
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#6
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: insider
Defeats the point of the entire platform, power efficiency...
I think the real goal was Hybrid-SLi, a power saving feature, I think supporting regular SLi is just a by-product.
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#7
phanbuey
no no no... the real goal is for me to use my 8800 ULtras and get l33t frames using this new platform.
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#8
Weer
Sure, a single-core 1.6Ghz CPU is more than enough to power two 280's.
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#9
wickerman
well despite some features that wont be used, you still cant view this as anything but a good move for Nvidia to benefit from the success of the Atom, a good move to help OEMs create more powerful netbooks, and all of this is gunna help Intel sell more Atoms...arguably the only one that may not like this move is Intel, as Atom is already cutting into sales of higher profit mobile processors. When profile is more important than performance, its hard to convince anyone to buy a $1200 12" ultralight laptop, when you can get a $400 10" netbook. Clearly you lose out on features and performance, but how much performance does a note taking device or web surfing device need? The only reason we are seeing netbook devices with more powerful graphics, tons of ram, bigger hard drives, is because the geeks among us like the gadget appeal, and not one of us can resist thinking "what more can I do with this".

The SLI feature is really more of a "hey look what we can do" move, Nvidia offers SLI support in some form with almost all of their chipsets today, so really you can think of it as just another bullet point for advertising departments to put on the box. The fact that the platform includes an IGP shows that Nvidia understands the market for these items demand higher performance, better features, and lower power than what Intel offers with its 945 series chipsets. The Atom processor itself is a very capable little chip and paired with a decent IGP will easily handle the settings any games could be played at, using the IGP alone.

On the desktop side of things, its also a good move as you get native support for 6x SATA II ports and GBE, making for a perfect NAS or DIY storage server platform. Existing Atom boards with GBE, like the D945GCLF2 are a good base but you still only get 2x SATA ports and 1x IDE port, so you really dont get much room to reach storage goals to take advantage of cheap drives. Odds are this new chipset will support the typical raid 0/1/0+1/5 that nvidia has standard on many chipsets so they would be giving much needed features to the data dump crowd. Ive been using VIA C7 based mini itx in one of my servers, and love that I can get a 2tb box with minimal foot print, power consumption, and still get the performance I need. As the Atom really destroys the C7, I find this new platform worth my eye at least.
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#10
wolf
Performance Enthusiast
discreet gfx come on!

a dual core Atom N330 would probably do OK with 2 budget cards in Sli, im talking really budget.

like 8600GT's...........9500GT's.........something really low power.
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#11
ascstinger
by: newtekie1
I think the real goal was Hybrid-SLi, a power saving feature, I think supporting regular SLi is just a by-product.
i agree, using a low power card for normal use, and then a higher-power card for hi-def playback and maybe some really light old game usage
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#12
lemonadesoda
This is very interesting.

1./ Especially if you can implement ASYMMETRIC SLI then you have a lot of options.

2./ For cooling and heat issues, you could stick each of the GPU's at opposite ends of the laptop case.

3./ Atom 270 (single) 330 (dual) and quad atoms and larrabee? I wonder where this is going

The fact that Intel is working so closely with nVidia on these funky ideas is interesting. In theory you could ditch SSE on Atom, and do it on the GPU, not CUDA, but with CPU extensions just like x387 used to so the math. High latency, but very fast. The days of parasite computing are back!
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#13
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
this is going to be for hybrid SLi onboard 8200m ext 8400 or something along those lines
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#14
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
by: insider
Defeats the point of the entire platform, power efficiency...
by: a111087
sLi? what for? wouldn't that be close to useless considering target use for the atom CPU?
by: insider
nVidia has gone full retard? :D :roll:
by: Weer
Sure, a single-core 1.6Ghz CPU is more than enough to power two 280's.
I don't see the problem with including sli in a chipset, Just because they implement sli doesn't mean everyone will use it. Its better for it to have SLI than not since that means if the user wanted to add a second gpu at the cost of using more power they could.
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#16
Bundy
SLI means they can run high res better - i.e. presentations, powerpoint etc. Will be ideal for this job.
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#17
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: bundyrum&coke
SLI means they can run high res better - i.e. presentations, powerpoint etc. Will be ideal for this job.
The IGP the MCP7A comes with is perfectly capable of doing all that, including if it had embedded videos, etc.
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#18
Baum
maybe it's just for cuda speed up, i do work with laptops and i need apart from mail,surf and chat things photoshop and office things...

then cuda would be a good move if they speed up productivity on these laptops ;-)
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#19
Smith_X
I do not care about SLI much but I like the idea that Atom support more than 1 harddisk. I expect to replace my desktop in nearly future and Atom is very fit my need. Currently, Intel Atom mobo support only 1 harddisk which it is not sufficient for me.
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