I saw first motherboards based on MCP7-series chipset back on Computex 2007. Yup, after a year and half nVIDIA is finally releasing MCP7 series to market, featuring GeForce 8-class GPU for Intel processors.
It is hard to understand what kind of problems delayed this part for over a year, but one of theories could be that nVIDIA didn’t want to cannibalize the sales of GeForce 8400 and 8500 series, which is give-or-take the performance that you’re going to get with GeForce 9300/9400 chipset.
Zotac is well known manufacturer of nVIDIA graphics cards, and also known as the company that produced highest clocked 8800Ultra, 8800GT and GTX280 cards out there. Zotac is already in the motherboard business, but guys’n’girls didn’t push them to the market. Things will change with this one, for sure. Zotac is relying on NVIDIA GeForce 9300 GPU with 16 shader processors and all the features NVIDIA has on its mainstream GPUs: DX10, OpenGL 2.1, CUDA and PhysX, Hybrid SLI, PureVideo HD and so on, and so on. This baby supports a maximum of 16 GB of DDR2 memory, which is a nice upgrade from 8GB limit from previous Intel chipsets, nForce 6 and 7 series.
What makes this motherboard special is “Zotac-special”: beside HDMI audio/video connector, this motherboard also features DVI audio output, so technically, you can drive two TV screens via HDMI from the same motherboard. This company was first to offer DVI Audio on NVIDIA graphics cards and it’s nice to see that trend spreading across various nV partners.
But perhaps the most important part is the fact that nForce brand is slowly cease to exist. NVIDIA stated that all future products will include graphics processors and Hybrid SLI modes. With the focus on GeForce brand, it is no wonder that nForce is slowly, but certainly – going the way of dodo birds.
Future of NVIDIA is most probably integration of Tegra processors with the GeForce parts on their AMD/Intel chipsets, able to boot OS without using AMD/Intel CPUs at all. Who knows, the day when GeForce graphics card will boot operating system may not seem so far away.