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NVIDIA has plans for the ultimate overclocker's system - your next motherboard may be an overclocking monster

Several weeks ago, HardOCP and HKEPC (English) published some preliminary details on the NVIDIA Tritium platform.  NVIDIA's vision is to combine several different components, from memory to video cards to motherboards, all under the Tritium certification.  Motherboards, for example, will undergo a strict set of criteria that, if satisfied, will receive special certification from NVIDIA said to "maximize overall system performance."

For example, motherboards will be required to enable certain voltages for maximum memory tweaking.  The latest specification for motherboard manufacturers insists there be 25mV granularity on everything from CPU core voltage to memory VDDIO.  An abbreviated list of the motherboard voltages is as follows, though we have been told NVIDIA has slightly tightened the specifications within the last few weeks:
  • CPU (AMD AM2 Socket)
    • V_Core: 0.775V to 2.2V
  • Memory
    • VDDIO: 1.8V to 2.5V
    • VTT: 0.9V to 1.25V
  • C51XE
    • V_Core: 1.2V to 1.45V
    • V_PEX: 1.5V to 1.7V
    • V_HT: 1.2V to 1.5V
  • MCP55XE
    • V_Core: 1.5V to 1.7V
    • V_PEX: 1.5V to 1.7V
    • V_HT: 1.2V to 1.5V
Furthermore, all motherboards expecting to be Tritium certified must meet or exceed certain frequency requirements.  These include but are not limited to:
  • CPU memory interface: DDR2 interface running at 800MHz
  • CPU C51XE 16 x 16 HyperTransport interface: 1.5GHz
  • C51XE x16 PCI Express link: 150MHz
  • C51XE/MCP55XE 16 x 16 HyperTransport interface: 1.5GHz
  • MCP55XE x16 PCI Express link: 150MHz reference clock
Features such as NVIDIA's LinkBoost (NVIDIA trademarked) will be optimized to run on these Tritium platforms.  Of course, many of these features are useless without BIOS support.  The motherboard BIOS options we've heard thus far include everythign from 425MHz FSB adjustments (in 1MHz increments) to 1.0 to 4.5 CAS Latency control (in 0.5 increments).  Overvoltage and individual frequency controls are also required -- and virtually every frequency control we saw was in 1MHz increments.  All SBIOS hooks must be inserted so that the board will work with NVIDIA's nTune software. 

Memory providers are also included in the Tritium umbrella.  Certain memory manufacturers are already working on SPD timings and extensions designed for Tritium certified motherboards.  Memory will also be required to work at certain voltages and timings, though obviously not as aggressive as the motherboards can fully support via the BIOS.

Video card manufacturers will complete the trifecta with BIOS.  Cards will be required to comply with 1MHz over/underclock increments though again not as aggressive as the motherboard BIOS can support.  Again, all of these functions must also be supported by NVIDIA's nTune software.

General specifications must be met by all components to meet the Tritium certification as well.  The motherboard x16 PCIe slots must be spaced apart enough to support Quad SLI, and all components must operate at or below temperatures thresholds set by NVIDIA documentation.  The system must also contain IEEE 1394b support, two PCI 2.3 interfaces, dual Gigabit Ethernet over the NVIDIA PHY and 8 channel HDA jacks in the back. Even the power supply must be rated to comply with the 150W video card specification set forth by NVIDIA for SLI.

NVIDIA certainly has an aspiring project on its hands, raising the bar quite a bit from what overclockers have traditionally considered sacred on only a few motherboards.  The important thing to recognize is that when all of the right components are in place, the system will overclock itself, though one can still tweak things manually.  We expect to see announcements from NVIDIA and some of the Tritium partners within the next few weeks about specific compliance, but only a few partners will have components at the AM2 launch.  However, don't get too comfortable with the name Tritium.  NVIDIA has not registered it with the USPTO.


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A Deconstructionist Approach
By shecknoscopy on 5/11/2006 9:59:59 AM , Rating: 5
NVIDIA: YO! Motherboard manufacturers! Make your boards awesomer!

MOBO MANUFACTURERS: Erm... okay. Well, we were already kinda' planning on...

NVID: AWESOMER! I SAID AWESOM ER!

MOBOS: I'm not sure that's a word, frankly.

NVID: And put our name on it.

MOBOS: Huh? Why should we put your name on this?

NVID: Look at this list we drew! Of all the components! The components to make the motherboard yet awesomer.

MOBOS: Seriously, stop using that word. Besides, most of our enthusiast level motherboards are already fairly awesome...

ASROCK: Not mine!

MOBOS: Yeah, not ASRock's. (they all laugh) But seriously, how much performance increase do you expect to get out of this purported list of yours? Given a modicum of skill and high performance components, can't an experienced overclocker already achieve the equivalent performance boost without having to rely on automatic, "black box" overclocking?

NVID: Don't forget to put our name on it.

MOBOS: Seriously, how much of a performance boost do you expect?

NVID: About US $50-100 per board sold.

MOBOS: AWESOME!

NVID: AWESOME ER !

(Furious, largely inept dancing)




RE: A Deconstructionist Approach
By Griswold on 5/11/2006 10:13:42 AM , Rating: 2
Brilliant!


RE: A Deconstructionist Approach
By dgingeri on 5/11/2006 3:51:16 PM , Rating: 2
that comment SO brought to mind the limberger cheese head situation. I can just see those semi-animated guys calling "Brilliant!" back and forth to each other.


RE: A Deconstructionist Approach
By poohbear on 5/11/2006 12:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
MOBOS: Seriously, stop using that word. Besides, most of our enthusiast level motherboards are already fairly awesome...

ASROCK: Not mine!

MOBOS: Yeah, not ASRock's. (they all laugh)


rofl so true. but hey, their latest bios release finally rremoved the 274HTT cap.:/ only took em 7-8 months.


It's nice but...
By AppaYipYip on 5/10/2006 11:01:38 PM , Rating: 2
it's just another way for manufacturers to squeeze more dollars from the "enthusiasts."

I understand that there is a very small sector of people who will buy these, myself included, but eventually only the super wealthy will be able to afford these things. =/

I just hope they keep the prices reasonable. Also consider that most hardware is obsolete by the time it reaches your doorstep.




RE: It's nice but...
By poohbear on 5/11/2006 12:25:00 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Also consider that most hardware is obsolete by the time it reaches your doorstep.


dude, comments like that just show how u've fallen for the marketing hype. my NF2 and barton @ 2500mhz is still more than adequate for my gaming needs. it reached my door step 2.5 years ago.


RE: It's nice but...
By gudodayn on 5/14/2006 9:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote:
Also consider that most hardware is obsolete by the time it reaches your doorstep.


dude, comments like that just show how u've fallen for the marketing hype. my NF2 and barton @ 2500mhz is still more than adequate for my gaming needs. it reached my door step 2.5 years ago.


Its true that it is obsolete by the time it reaches your door step!
If you go and out and buy current PC components then you've fallen for the market hype!
I too, have a XP2500 Barton at home and I must agree that it is still more than capable for most PC applications!!!!


RE: It's nice but...
By bob661 on 5/16/2006 12:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
I used to have an XP2400 but it started choking on my games so I upgraded to an A64 3500. Wow! What a difference! There's no hype here guys. Of course, if your system works for you then by all means keep it. It would be a waste to upgrade. Also, your system is only obsolete when there's nothing that runs on it.


Nice, another sticker!!
By animedude on 5/11/2006 11:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
But I don't have room, d@mn it!(Start ripping off "Designed for WINXP sticker) I think NVIDIA going to make a cool looking sticker :P.




RE: Nice, another sticker!!
By dgingeri on 5/11/2006 3:53:19 PM , Rating: 2
you're concerned about a sticker?!?!

I prefer to keep my system as clean as I can get it. Even my WinXP license code sticker is on the inside of my case.


RE: Nice, another sticker!!
By animedude on 5/12/2006 6:20:59 PM , Rating: 1
No, I am just saying there are so many of these stickers, why are they sticking another one.


RE: Nice, another sticker!!
By InternetGeek on 5/12/2006 5:52:12 AM , Rating: 2
No 'branding' stickers on my system thank you. I already bought the product so I don't need the extra marketting nor are they paying me to advertise them everytime I use the PC and people stare.






RE: Nice, another sticker!!
By stephenbrooks on 5/12/2006 1:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
Annoyingly enough, ANTEC drilled holes arranged like their logo shape in the side of my case, making it difficult to remove :/


Ohh.. nVIDIA feels threatened by Xpress 3200!
By z3R0C00L on 5/11/2006 11:45:43 AM , Rating: 2
Easy...

nVIDIA felt threatened by the Xpress 3200's overclocking capabilities the fact that ATi had stressed and announced there upcoming chipsets to all be overclocking monsters. So they do as they always do... copy a competitors idea and try and make it better.

Sounds like someone else.. oh yeah AMD. (Hypertransport, EV6 Bus, x86, 64bit, SDR, DDR, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, Dual Core (Intel first to announced a Dual core x86 etc).

I'm no Intel fan (in fact I run AMD) but I have to admit the mis-information spread by word of mouth from fanboys. The nVIDIA and ATi battle is no different.




RE: Ohh.. nVIDIA feels threatened by Xpress 3200!
By Trisped on 5/11/2006 1:10:30 PM , Rating: 3
It goes both ways. AMD had the first 64bit processor while Intel's dual core processors were first and very cheep. It is actually best for everyone if AMD and Intel copy each other, because then the same features are available on all processors and developers are more likely to use them. The major difference in the processors should not be the function, but the performance.


By Griswold on 5/12/2006 6:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
The dual core example is not a good example. Intel announced it like 2 or 3 days before AMD. But AMD was first to ship them in something that could be vaguely called volume - I did try to get ahold of a P-D back then but had no luck around here.

And last but not least, AMDs approach was a "true" one DIE dual core approach whereas Intels job was two dies glued together - and they even admitted it was a whackjob only to beat AMD to it.

There are other examples.. take SSE123 - AMD licenses that just like Intel licenses AMD64 but renamed it to EM64T.


Paradox?
By Griswold on 5/11/2006 10:27:31 AM , Rating: 3
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but overclocking in the traditional sense of the word means running something outside its specifications to squeeze out some extra performance.

Now, nvidia made specifications so these components will run at these speeds without problems within warranty (I assume).

I dont know why, but somehow I feel, something went wrong here. Besides the opportunity for nvidia to get a share of the wealth the well known enthusiast products have generated (by selling certificates and a flashy "Tritium" sticker to other manufacturers), not much will change for the end user. Well, maybe it'll be easier to get the same effect without knowing a whole lot about the topic... but why bother if you do?




RE: Paradox?
By Trisped on 5/11/2006 1:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Remember the first year of SLI boards?
This set should be + $50-200 more then the same board for the same price.

Since the power of the over clock will depend on the board, NVIDIA will probably just under clock all their boards a little. That way they make much more money selling motherboards, 2 GPUs, and power supplies that have to all be used together to get the best deal. This way they can have the fame as being the "best" while charging twice as much to get it.

You have to admit, they really know how to extort the "enthusiast."


65nm compatible?
By Doormat on 5/11/2006 12:57:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'd be hard pressed to dump all that money (I assume that tritium boards will carry a premium for all this extra engineering that has to take place) unless I am assured 100% money back garuantee that this platform is 65nm compatible (since AM2 will have 65nm chips).




RE: 65nm compatible?
By Viditor on 5/11/2006 6:44:18 AM , Rating: 2
Changing a node size never changes anything on the chipset. It's only when you change the design of the chip that this happens. However, remember that AMD is also releasing K8L (supposedly in H1 next year), which may require a change but most likely a bios fix.


um ya
By soybeast on 5/11/2006 2:00:35 AM , Rating: 3
Seems more like a dual attempt at marketing and squeezing extra dollars out of mobo manufacturers to get this "certification."

I sense less practicallity and more marketing machine.




By Blackraven on 5/11/2006 9:59:46 AM , Rating: 1
So what is it? Nvidia starting to make their own motherboards?

Sorry for my ignorance but I can't understand as to what this Tritium is all about?


The best part is...
By Chocolate Pi on 5/10/2006 10:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
...motherboard makers will even try to out-do each other's Tritium boards! Heh, the feature set ought to be crazy.

At any rate, those voltage values and BIOS options are INSANE.




is that safe?
By poohbear on 5/10/2006 10:56:04 PM , Rating: 2
2.2vcore for an AM2?! this sure aint gonna be no ASrock mobo.:0 wonder what the price premium will be "tritium" certified mobos.




By clementlim on 5/11/2006 12:10:10 AM , Rating: 2
Well, there's THX certified cinemas...now Tritium (or nVIdia) certified computer components...

I am not sure this is really a good idea. I see the strength in it but also the weakness. Price, ego and long working hours to get that kind of money to buy them...unless they are still priced the same...which might happen =D




A link to the past...
By segagenesis on 5/11/2006 12:22:34 AM , Rating: 2
I'm somewhat reminded of the old MPC/MPC2 standards when I read this, except its taking such a think to a new level and beyond. While a good idea this could easily become cost prohibitive from the extra money involved to make decent boards. I would imagine you should start looking at paying $100+ for boards conforming to this.




Moderated
By pornpassplanet on 5/11/06, Rating: -1
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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