NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400Gb

Introduction and Specs

Being successful, especially in the computer hardware industry, is no easy task.  While some companies struggle to win over customers with just a smattering of products, NVIDIA's brand recognition almost seemed to guarantee them success on a regular basis.  What seems like not so long ago, the nForce2 Ultra chipset was taking the AMD Athlon XP motherboard market by storm and today it still remains the chipset of choice for those with an Athlon XP.  The nForce2 chipset offered it all in terms of connectivity, speed, and reliability - but it was released well over a year ago and NVIDIA feels it is time for some change.

Today in the HotHardware labs we're going to take a look at the new NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400Gb chipset.  It carries with it all the same features of the original nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset, but with some interesting extras.  For starters, Gigabit Ethernet and SATA RAID are provided via the new MCP-Gb Southbridge chip.  To protect that new Gigabit Ethernet connection, the addition of a hardware-optimized Firewall will provide the armor necessary to thwart any unwanted attacks from the outside world.  These new motherboards will also support added functionality with NVIDIA's System Utility making real time adjustments to the BIOS a trivial task.  Without further ado, we give you NVIDIA's nForce2 Ultra 400Gb Reference motherboard.

NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400GB Reference Motherboard
Reference Specifications


AMD Athlon XP 266/333/400MHz FSB Processors

nVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400GB

 - nForce2 SPP Northbridge

 - nForce2 MCP-Gb Southbridge


Supports dual channel memory interface

Supports up to 3GB memory

Supports PC1600 (DDR200) - PC3200 (DDR400)

Three 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM sockets



Integrated ATA100 and Serial ATA Controller

Silicon Image Serial ATA Control Chip [Support RAID 0,1,0+1]

Max Disk: 144,000,000GB [by 48 bits LBA spec]

ALC-650 6-channel audio output on-board



Integrated Gigabit nVIDIA nForce2 400GB MCP LAN PHY

Hardware-Optimized Firewall Security

USB 2.0

Integrated 8 USB2.0 ports

Expansion Slots
1 x AGP that supports 8x/4x AGP

6 x PCI slots


Supports ATA/33, ATA/66, ATA/100 and ATA/133 drives
UDMA Modes 3, 4, 5 and 6 Enhanced IDE

(data transfer rate up to 133MB/sec.)


Supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1 both PATA and SATA

Cross-Controller RAID

Boot from a RAID drive

On-the-Fly Rebuilds

Spare Disk Allocation


BIOS Feature

Award PnP 4Mb Flash ROM BIOS

2nd Flash ROM for DieHard BIOS


Rear Panel I/O Ports

4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 RJ45 Gigabit LAN port
2 DB-9 serial ports
1 DB-25 parallel port
1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 mouse port
1 mini-DIN-6 PS/2 keyboard port
3 audio jacks: line-out, line-in and mic-in


I/O Connectors

2 connectors for 4 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 internal audio connector (CD-in)
1 S/PDIF-in/out connector
2 connectors for serial ATA interface
2 IDE connectors
1 floppy connector
2 ATX power supply connectors
3 fan connectors for CPU fan, chassis fan and second fan


Form Factor

ATX Form Factor (305mm x 204mm)





From the pictures above you can see that this motherboard is not highly decorated, which is typical of a reference motherboard.  These boards are used to lay the groundwork for retail products and showcase new technology.  It's up to each motherboard vendor to incorporate the various flashy features and brightly colored PCBs enthusiasts have grown accustomed to.  This reference motherboard is quite typical of other nForce2 Ultra motherboards in its offerings, except the MCP-Gb (Southbridge) now supports Gigabit Ethernet, PATA/SATA RAID, and NVIDIA's hardware based firewall.  Let's get a closer look at the implementations of these new features as well as the BIOS that shipped with this motherboard...


Tags:  Nvidia, nforce, Ultra, force, GB, ULT, id

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