Nvidia 680i boards don't support Penryn?

November 28, 2007 // 6:54 p.m.

Tags: #45nm #650i-intel #680i #core #cpu #dual #lt #motherboard #nvidia #penryn #quad #sli #wolfdale #yorkfield

Rumours have been popping up and dying again for the last few weeks--or at least, ever since the launch of Intel's 45nm 'Penryn' processor family--which suggest that all current Nvidia nForce 680i SLI boards will not support the new processors.

The latest BIOS we can find for the "made by Nvidia" boards is P31, which has no mention of the QX9650, yet, it boasts better Kentsfield (65nm quad core) overclocking. When bit-tech asked Nvidia about support for future Intel 45nm processors on nForce 680i SLI boards, we were initially told that the company had been trying to QA these issues with a BIOS fix, and at the time it downplayed the rumoured issues.

However, the BIOS fix hasn't materialised and it looks like an actual hardware change has been required - this problem is fixed on Nvidia's next-generation motherboards. This is undoubtedly going to upset those who've already invested in Nvidia nForce 680i SLI motherboards, as in order to upgrade to lower power and faster CPUs, consumers will have to upgrade their motherboards as well.

HardOCP got official word from Nvidia last night, confirming the rumours that were going around. The Nvidia spokesperson said that "the 680i MCP fully supports both dual core Wolfdale and quad core Yorkfield, but at the board level, a motherboard circuit change is required for quad core YF."

So while it seems that nForce 680i SLI chipset supports the new 45nm processors, the motherboards don't have the required circuitry to support them. Is this Nvidia incompetence? I very much doubt it; instead, a more likely scenario is that as Intel has held its cards close to its chest until the very last minute, and whether intentionally or not, it has delivered a blow to the jugular.

In some respects, the situation might work out better for Nvidia. If (for the sake of hypothetical arguments) Nvidia's next-generation motherboards aren't significantly faster than the nForce 680i SLI boards out there, then people might have turned their noses up and opted for cheaper nForce 680i SLI mobos instead. Even worse those consumers could buy one second hand. Intel provides a nice get out clause for that one and, as a result, it might make the next generation nForce boards a more enticing upgrade.

I can already see the conspiracy theorists going nuts over this one, so if you've got your own theories, why not let us know in the forums?
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