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NVIDIA to launch next-generation Intel chipsets next month

With the next generation processors from Intel drawing near, chipset manufacturers have been hard at work designing products around Intel's CPU architecture.

NVIDIA's upcoming MCP7A motherboard Intel chipset is expected to launch this coming April along with the 45nm Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 and the 65nm Core 2 Quad price drops.

NVIDIA claims MCP7A includes a number of improvements over the last generation products including HDMI and Hybrid SLI capabilities.

MCP7A will be offered in 8 different SKUs, seven of them with onboard DirectX 10-based GPUs that will feature high-definition video processing at 1080p support and integrated HDCP on the higher-end MCP7A-GL and MCP7A-J. There is no word yet on how powerful the onboard graphics processors will be, however, they will all support Shader Model 4.0 and DirectX 10.

Other oddities include an MCP7A chipset that offer a workstation-class GPU from NVIDIA's Quadro line.

The MCP7A line will support a 1333 MHz front-side bus and 20 PCIe 2.0 lanes in a possible 16x1 + 4x1 setup. This would allow a single GPU expansion card to be used in conjunction with the GPUs in seven of these chipsets for a Hybrid SLI setup. The only two SLI boards, the MCP7A-SLI and MCP7A-GL, will feature 2 x8 PCIe 2.0 slots for dual expansion card capabilities.

Each of the chipsets with onboard GPUs will feature 2 analog and 2 digital display heads, with the notable exception of the high-end MCP7A-J which will feature 2 analog and 3 digital heads. Motherboards based on the MCP7A line will have the potential to support DVI/HDMI/Dual Port and RGB formats of video output, while the MCP7A-J chipset will also support LVDS.

Other standard features on all boards will include support for up to 6 SATA 3.0 GB/sec ports, up to 12 USB 2.0 ports, integrated 10/100/1000 Mb/sec LAN and RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and RAID 5 support on the SATA interface.

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RE: needs more SATA
By surt on 3/4/2008 3:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
With more people wanting to run 2 drives raid 0 for speed, and 5 drives for raid-5 safety, i'd say 8 sata ports would cover 99% of what home users want. 6 is just barely short of the mark for that scenario.

RE: needs more SATA
By TomZ on 3/4/2008 3:13:15 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think many people are wanting to run a 5-drive RAID5 array in their desktop machine. That's a pretty unusual use case.

And for those few who want to, the cost differential for a server board is obviously not a concern, if one is willing to invest in 5 drives.

RE: needs more SATA
By evident on 3/4/2008 3:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
don't forget optical drives, as IDE is now completely obsolete and not supported anymore. what a waste of $ i spent the last year on optical drives that were all IDE thinking it would last as long as parallel and serial ports on MB's.. . boy was i wrong

RE: needs more SATA
By xsilver on 3/4/2008 6:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that running raid is not your usual home user setup.
However there is also the possibility that some of your sata ports are blocked due to a long graphics card.
my 8800gt blocks definitely 1 and puts pressure on the cable for a second port.
That effectively means that I've only got 4 ports left, which are coincidentally all used up. (2hdds, + 2optical)

RE: needs more SATA
By Carter642 on 3/5/2008 9:22:24 AM , Rating: 3
I've got an asus board and it's got the sata ports at a right angle to the board face. This means that my 8800GTX goes right over the top of my sata heads and doesn't block any of them. I'm actually really surprised that more motherboard manufacturers haven't done that.

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