Since its entry into the market last year, NVIDIAs nForce 4 SLI chipset has been the chipset of choice for enthusiasts and hardcore gamers. The SLI chipsets feature two x16 PCI-Express slots capable of handling full sized graphics cards. The downfall to this setup is the splitting of bandwidth between the two cards. While two cards were in use, each x16 slot was effectively split into an x8 in order to provide bandwidth to each. Following the announcement of NVIDIAs new nForce 4 SLI X16 chipset this is no longer an issue. The new chipset will provide extra PCI-E bandwidth as well as advanced I/O options.
So what does this mean for the consumer? First and foremost, it means that existing nForce 4 products will see their prices reduced into a mainstream/entry level market. The SLI X16 will become the enthusiast level part, while the existing nForce 4 Ultra and nForce 4 SLI products will become mid-range parts, leaving the nForce 4 and nForce 3 to cover the entry-level segment. With the introduction of SLI for the Geforce 6200 and 6600 standard, SLI will be hitting on all cylinders up and down NVIDIAs product line. The SLI X16 will also be available in Dell XPS systems, marking the first time a non-Intel chipset will be available for the worlds largest PC maker. It is important to note that this does not mean Dell will be using AMD processors, as NVIDIA introduced its nForce 4 for Intel systems earlier this year.