Friday, March 27th 2009

NVIDIA nForce 980a SLI Reference Platform Motherboard Pictured

Pursuing legal action against Intel for bringing its Intel-compatible platform development to a grinding halt due to legal complications, NVIDIA has kept its platform development for AMD on track. The company has made the nForce 980a SLI platform official, that supports the latest Phenom II series processors from AMD. The company published the product page on its website, and has pictured its reference design motherboard based on the chipset. The motherboard carries the "designed by NVIDIA" marking, which makes it a design that several of its AIC partners such as EVGA, XFX, Zotac, etc., can use simultaneously.

The motherboard sports the nForce 980a SLI chipset, paired with the nForce 200 PCI-Express bridge chip. The motherboard features a GeForce 8300-class IGP, with DVI-D and D-Sub outputs. It supports NVIDIA 3-way SLI and Quad-SLI. As an AMD platform, the chipset supports AM2, AM2+ and AM3 socket processors, with DDR3 and DDR2 memory support (depending on the processor). A 5-phase digital PWM circuit powers the processor. The nForce 980a SLI and nForce 200 chips are located adjacent to each other, and are cooled actively by a fan-heatsink. The product design looks production-grade and may attract partners to sell it.
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85 Comments on NVIDIA nForce 980a SLI Reference Platform Motherboard Pictured

#76
jalyst
btarunr
It's already there like I said, you have a number of 780a SLI boards that have the IGP available, and these motherboards support every AM2/2+/3 processor you can think of. So there's no point in waiting for a 980a with IGP.
Understood, if it's purely a certification and the IGP/non-IGP features are the same, why wait!
Reduced number of PCI-E lanes don't necessarily cripple the IGPs. These IGPs don't need an x16 link to work to their full-potential, not even x8 for that matter.
No I was wondering if IGP implementations of these chip-sets are different to non-IGP implementations in areas other than graphics.
I'm talking about GeForce 8300 MCP (the chipset), not GeForce 8300 (the IGP). NVIDIA chooses to call it an "mGPU", which abbreviates "motherboard GPU", not "mobile GPU". It's a monolithic chipset. If you don't need to use discrete graphics, you don't need a 780a SLI or 980a SLI. This chipset packs the same IGP.
No I may need discrete graphics at some point, but thanks for the suggestion.
With Linux, I recommend sticking to NVIDIA. Their Linux driver support is outstanding. A slightly faster IGP won't mean much in Linux anyway.
Interesting to note, thanks
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#77
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
jalyst
No I was wondering if IGP implementations of these chip-sets are different in non-IGP implementations in areas other than graphics.
They're not, as far as their feature-sets go. Whatever differences that may exist, may be brought in by the motherboard manufacturer. Not a big deal.

jalyst
No I may need discrete graphics at some point, but thanks for the suggestion.
And GeForce 8300 also offers you a PCI-E x16 slot just for that.
Posted on Reply
#78
jalyst
Oh you mean their chip-sets that offer IGP (mGPU's), yeah they're the only ones I'm looking at now...
But don't their range of mGPU's have most of the same features as their range of MCP's? (except for the SLI etc)
I hope so.....
Posted on Reply
#79
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
jalyst
Oh you mean their chip-sets that offer IGP (mGPU's), yeah they're the only ones I'm looking at now...
But don't their range of mGPU's have most of the same features as their range of MCP's? (except for the SLI etc)
I hope so.....
Yes, they're physically the same chip. It's codenamed MCP72, and is implemented in different ways to draw out different SKUs. Hope this gives you an idea:



Do you see the genius of the design from a business standpoint? The rest of the feature-set is nearly the same. MCP82 claims to have an NVIDIA-labeled version of the Advanced Clock Calibration feature, though physically, the MCP has nothing extra added to enable the feature.
Posted on Reply
#80
Wile E
Power User
btarunr
It's already there like I said, you have a number of 780a SLI boards that have the IGP available, and these motherboards support every AM2/2+/3 processor you can think of. So there's no point in waiting for a 980a with IGP.



Reduced number of PCI-E lanes don't necessarily cripple the IGPs. These IGPs don't need an x16 link to work to their full-potential, not even x8 for that matter.



But true, and NVIDIA is good at doing it. Rebranding worked very well in selling GeForce 9800 GT and GeForce GTS 250.




I'm talking about GeForce 8300 MCP (the chipset), not GeForce 8300 (the IGP). NVIDIA chooses to call it an "mGPU", which abbreviates "motherboard GPU", not "mobile GPU". It's a monolithic chipset. If you don't need to use discrete graphics, you don't need a 780a SLI or 980a SLI. This chipset packs the same IGP.

With Linux, I recommend sticking to NVIDIA. Their Linux driver support is outstanding. A slightly faster IGP won't mean much in Linux anyway.
ATI works well in Linux these days as well. It's not like the old days. Support for ATI has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 2 years.
Posted on Reply
#81
jalyst
btarunr
Yes, they're physically the same chip. It's codenamed MCP72, and is implemented in different ways to draw out different SKUs. Hope this gives you an idea:

http://img.techpowerup.org/090707/bta128.png

Do you see the genius of the design from a business standpoint? The rest of the feature-set is nearly the same. MCP82 claims to have an NVIDIA-labeled version of the Advanced Clock Calibration feature, though physically, the MCP has nothing extra added to enable the feature.
Oh this fully clears things up now thanks!

I wonder if the AMD chip-sets compare well feature-set wise to the 780a?
i.e. Do they have the same sort of bridge chip allowing for a lot more expandability with discrete cards, among other MCP features...

It looks like they'll have even more of an edge with the IGP soon now...
http://www.techpowerup.com/98801/AMD_RS880_IGP_15_Percent_Faster.html
But I'm not so sure about other areas...
Posted on Reply
#82
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Yes, the 790FX does. It doesn't have an IGP, and you wouldn't need one anyway.
Posted on Reply
#83
jalyst
So the 780A and 790FX are a close match, except that the FX never has motherboards implemented with IGP whereas the 780A sometimes does.
That rules out the FX then because I want IGP from the outset, plus 780A is avail as 790I which support Intel 775, which gives it a slight edge again in-terms of CPU performance.
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#84
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
nForce 750/780/790 Intel series chipset has no IGP.

And I don't see how 780a SLI has "a slight edge again in-terms of CPU performance" because 790i supports Intel 775. That's a completely different chipset.
Posted on Reply
#85
jalyst
btarunr
nForce 750/780/790 Intel series chipset has no IGP.

And I don't see how 780a SLI has "a slight edge again in-terms of CPU performance" because 790i supports Intel 775. That's a completely different chipset.
I thought the Intel series is more or less the same as the AMD series aside from the CPU micro-architecture they support, & hence there are mobo's available with IGP.
I thought this had been previously mentioned, sorry, my mistake...
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