NVIDIA is likely to step back to dual chip core-log chipsets, because the DirectX9 graphics solution that they are planning to use in their upcoming chipset is too complex to integrate in the allready feature-packet media and commnucation chipset for the AMD64 CPUs.
Sources close to NVIDIA Corporation said the firm’s code-named CK8-04/Pro core-logic will consist of two chips: an MCP and IGP1 “DirectX 9.0 Graphics CK8-04 Companion Chip”. This will be NVIDIA’s first chipset with graphics core designed for AMD Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX microprocessors and also the company’s first core-logic for AMD’s 64-bit CPUs that consists of two actual chips. It should be noted that only version with “integrated” DirectX 9 graphics core will require additional chip, whereas the CK8-04/Pro itself will still exist as a discrete solution for AMD64 chips.
NVIDIA’s CK8-04/Pro solution is rumored to sport 1.0GHz HyperTransport bus, PCI Express x16 for graphics cards, PCI Express x1 for add-in cards, 4 PCI slots, 2-channel Parallel ATA-33/66/100/133 controller, 4 Serial ATA-150 ports, 10 USB 2.0 ports, Azalia 24-bit/96kHz 8-channel audio and so.
Precise specifications of IGP1, the “DirectX 9.0 Graphics CK8-04 Companion Chip”, are to be determined at a later date. In fact, it is not fully clear, whether the “companion chip” is a separate graphics core, such as, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200, that should be plugged into mainboard and utilize system memory as frame-buffer, or a specifically designed chip that operates via a special bus.
The company will sample both new chips in the second quarter of the year and is said to start mass production of the new products in the Q3 2004.
Generally speaking, NVIDIA’s “companion chip” for its CK8-04/Pro core-logic does not significantly affect the firm’s ongoing trend towards single-chip core-logic sets. With the introduction if CK8-04/Pro the majority of the firm’s chipsets for AMD64 processors will consist of one silicon, delivering the Santa Clara, California-based firm an advantage over competing VIA and SiS, whose core-logic sets for AMD64 include two chips and are more expensive to make. Apparently, platform solutions with integrated graphics are too complex for one chip, therefore, all chipset developers will offer dual-core products with integrated graphics cores, though, NVIDIA will still be in a position to offer one chip for discrete platforms.