Following a discussion with Tom Petersen, Director of Technical Marketing for Nvidia’s chipset business, it became apparent that Nvidia does indeed have a QPI license to make chipsets for Intel’s Bloomfield processors.
Petersen was adamant that Nvidia’s cross-licensing agreement with Intel includes a Quick Path Interface licence, enabling the company to develop chipsets for Intel’s latest processors.
“We chose to focus our engineering resources on developing DMI chipsets [for mainstream Lynnfield and Havendale processors] at this time,
” explained Petersen. He then added that just because Nvidia isn’t releasing a QPI-based chipset initially, it doesn’t mean there won’t be QPI-based chipsets in the future.
Unlike Bloomfield, both Lynnfield and Havendale use the DMI chipset interconnect instead of the faster QPI; however, with both the memory controller and PCI-Express now on the CPU it’s questionable what Nvidia can bring to the table. Of course, it can enable things like SLI Memory through the BIOS, but then so can any other BIOS developer - what we hope to see is boards that support both SLI Memory and XMP (Intel's version of the technology).
To enable SLI, Nvidia will essentially need to connect its NF200 chip to the CPU’s integrated PCI-Express bus and then create its own south bridge with a similar set of features to ICH10. Of course, SLI could be enabled with a hefty number of lanes available in the south bridge, but then the data streams from the GPU have to contend with other data moving between CPU, integrated memory controller and south bridge across the same bus.
There is no confirmation—let alone timeframe—for when we can expect to see an nForce chipset for Bloomfield or any future QPI-based processors and given that there’s already SLI support on Nvidia-certified X58 motherboards, I’m not convinced we’ll see one any time soon.
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