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The nForce3 chipset was created by NVIDIA as a Media and Communications Processor. Specifically, it was designed for use with the Athlon 64 processor.

Features of the nForce3[edit]

The nForce3 chipset features lowered latencies, increased design efficiency, as well as advanced technology, which includes Ethernet, Firewall, and increased storage.

Lowered Latencies[edit]

Using the HyperTransport linking technology, the nForce3 is able to communicate very quickly(8GB/sec) with the CPU. This benefits the CPU by reducing bottlenecks when using high-bandwidth devices. For example, the Gigabit Ethernet transmits at 256MB/sec, if the Ethernet were not on the chipset, the speed would be reduced to 133MB/sec, the speed of the PCI bus.

Design Efficiency[edit]

The nForce3 uses .15 micron technology instead of the normal .22 micron processing. This processing technology lowers the heat production in the chipset. It also is designed so that one board can support different variations.

Advanced Technology[edit]


The Ethernet supported by the nForce3 is called Gigabit Ethernet. This provides a tenfold increase in the bandwidth from Fast Ethernet. The Ethernet system is built into the chipset on the MAC, or Media Access Controller. This increases the speed of the Ethernet as explained in the Lowered Latencies section.


The NVIDIA Firewall technology utilizes the ActiveArmor secure networking engine. This makes the firewall an on-chip function, reducing the overhead on the CPU. The firewall also uses IAM, or Intelligent Application Manager to provide application-based filtering.


The nForce3 supports the latest SATA technology as well as RAID 0+1 striping and mirroring. The chipset can accomodate up to four SATA-150 devices. The RAID technology is an important feature as it is responsible for the fault tolerance in the memory and the amount of disk space used. The disk mirroring creates a "hot standby" in case one of the disks fails. The disk striping increases the storage amount by arranging data in a certain way.