NF4 Ultra Shoot-Out: Abit vs. MSI vs. ECS
Introduction & The Chipset
Today we're going to take a look at three enthusiast class motherboards based on the NVIDIA nForce 4 Ultra chipset, the Abit Fatal1ty AN8, the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum, and the ECS KN1 Extreme. All three of these motherboards take the core features inherent to the NVIDIA nForce 4 Ultra, and implement them in their own unique ways. One board is flashy and boastful, another is subdued and loaded up with third-party on-board peripherals, while the other is rather spartan and quite inexpensive. But in the end, they are all subject to our discerning eyes and the same suite of benchmarks. We took all three of these motherboards for a spin, and had some interesting things occur. Read on to see which one we think deserves a place in your rig, and why. As you'll see, not all nForce 4 Ultra motherboards are created equal...
Advanced networking features
Fast Ultra ATA-133 Disk Drive Controller
PCI Express interface
NVIDIA Firewall technology
The NVIDIA nForce 4 chipset has a set of features that help differentiate it from competing AMD chipset solutions from VIA and SiS. We've got the complete list of specifications posted above for your perusal, but we've also covered them in-depth in other recent articles here at HotHardware.com. In this nForce 4 preview, posted in late October of last year, we highlighted the main features of the chipset and did a quick performance comparison versus the nForce 3 that it supercedes. We have also reviewed the Asus A8N-SLI motherboard which is based on the nForce 4 SLI chipset, and have posted a comprehensive three-board NF4 SLI round-up here. The nForce 4 Ultra which is the focus of this article is essentially the same as the nForce 4 SLI, minus support for NVIDIA's multi-GPU technology. So, if you take the time to check out those articles, they'll give you lots of insight as to what the nForce 4 Ultra chipset is all about.
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