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The nVIDIA nForce Motherboard Chipset:
a different perspective

Last updated: 6/29/01

nVIDIA nForce Chipset - Media and Communications Processor Processor (MCP)The MCP consists of about six million transistors.  The MCP Audio Processing Unit (APU) is a very significant improvement over the audio functions integrated into other chipsets and is essentially the same audio technology found in the Xbox.  It has Five Data Signal Processors (DSPs) with a combined processing power of about one billion operations per second.  According to nVIDIA, it is two or three times more powerful than a Creative SoundBlaster Live soundboard.  It is Microsoft DirectX 8.0 compliant, provides real-time processing of up to 256-simultaneous stereo audio streams, or 64 3D and stereo (2D) streams, and can output to 2, 4, or 6 speakers.   It features a new Dolby Digital Interactive Content Encoder, which does real time encoding for interactive 3D positional audio and Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio for the kind of sound you will find in a movie theater when plugged into a home theater audio system.

In addition to other Southbridge functions, such as two ATA/100 channels for disk drives and an Audio Codec (AC’97) 2.1 Compliant Interface with a Sony-Philips Digital Interface (SPDIF) transmitter for the Dolby Digital 5.1 output and support for soft MODEM functions, the MCP incorporates an IEEE 802.3 Media Address Controller (MAC) for 10/100 Ethernet and Home PNA 2.0 phoneline networks.  The chip has support for six USB 1.1 ports, but no USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394 firewire support. The ISA bus is history.  The LPC (Low Pin Count) Bus replaces it for connectivity to the flash BIOS and a Super I/O chip to support the keyboard, floppy disk drives, and serial, parallel, game, and MIDI ports.

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