knows its graphics, but if nForce2 is anything to go by it’s also rapidly catching up in the chipset space too.

The nForce2 chipset caters for both integrated and discreet graphics, making it nVidia’s first non-graphics product.

Motherboard manufactures can choose whether to support integrated graphics or not by choosing either the IGP (integrated graphics processor) or SPP (systems platform processor) chip. This then communicates with the MCP (media communications processor).

The IGP uses a GeForce4 MX core and caters for the budget end of the market. It has multiple display support, TV-Out and AGP 8x.

The SPP is the performance offering, and as such doesn’t offer integrated graphics. The dual 64bit memory controllers provide up to 6.4GBps (gigabytes per second) of bandwidth and support 400MHz, 333MHz and 266MHz DDR RAM. There’s also AGP 8x and an 800MBps (megabytes per second) HyperTransport link to the MCP.

Two MCPs are available — MCP-T and MCP Value. The value chip runs to USB 2.0, ATA 133, 10/100 ethernet and AC97 audio. The MCP-T (the T apparently standing for Turbo) adds on dual 10/100 ethernet controllers, FireWire and an APU (Audio Processing Unit) capable of Dolby Digital decoding.

Look out for a review on nForce 2-based system in a forthcoming issue of PC Advisor.