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Double graphics power

Evgenie Rudometov

Company Micro-Star International (MSI) develops and releases motherboard MSI P4N Diamond. In the architecture of this card created on the basis of a chip set nVidia nForce4 SLI, a number of perspective firm processing techniques, including possibility of usage of two graphics videoadapters is realised

Developing functionality of computer systems, designers instal more and more powerful models of central processor units. As a part of these major units already two arithmetic-logic units (ALU) and some pipelines providing concurrent execution of commands for a long time use. Further these architectural features have been added by processing technique of the multithreading emulating operation some of virtual processors and providing an essential gain of productivity. Queue and mnogojadernosti has come, that, as a matter of fact, is allocation of several processors in one common tank. The beginning to it was put by recently declared models with two kernels. Now programs will be fulfilled not on two virtual processors, and on two real kernels that will provide almost productivity doubling. It became possible thanks to successes of solid-state technologies and development of the architecture of extreme difficult chips which modern processors concern.

And other components of the desktop computer system? Certainly, they are perfected also. Their internal arrangement becomes complicated, their productivity promptly grows. Often improved properties are reached at the expense of substantial growth of clock rates. However to provide this growth there is all more difficultly. By the way, for this reason the main manufacturers of central processor units have refused this way of their modification. As a result of comprehensive investigation of alternative paths of development of computer architectures and possibilities of solid-state technologies processors become multinuclear.

Bessomnenija, similar path there will transit also the main chips of videoadapters which on complexity any more only compete to central processor units, but also have to some extent bypassed them. As proof it is enough to recollect quantity of transistors which for a number topovyh models of chips of this type has passed for 200 million pieces. As a recognition of this fact, the central chip of a video subsystem has received the name the geometry processor (GPU). By the way, as a part of a number topovyh models GPU already today are realised more than one and a half tens pipelines that provides productivity high level.

While the current state of solid-state technologies does not allow similarly central processor unit to realise some kernels in uniform tank. It is linked to complexity of inner patterns, the big number of transistors, high clock rates and considerable teploobrazovaniem, demanding appropriate resources of cooling. However usage of two high-grade videoadapters is quite possible. Each of them handles the part of the formed video map and participates in output of the common frame. It is necessary to add, that for this purpose are required appropriate support and from the motherboard. The circuit of the image generation, the displayed screen monitor, is resulted in a Fig. 1.

By the way, the given idea is not new. Really, about the solutions providing usage of two maps, participating in creation of the uniform map ten years ago were released.

Fig. 1. Image generation by two videoadapters

To this idea have returned on a new coil of the history linked to development of computer processing techniques. New implementation has received the name of processing technique SLI. This processing technique provides usage of two videoadapters installed in two slots of standard PCIExpress.

One of such solutions supporting processing of video maps by two videocards, motherboard MSIP4N Diamond is. In this card have found incarnation many perspective obshcheotraslevye processing techniques which concern which LGA775, PCI Express, RAID  0/1/0+1/JBOD, etc. Card MSIP4N Diamond is oriented to development of high-powered desktop personal computers. She allows to realise advantages of the architecture of processors of Intel of Pentium 4 with processing technique Hyper-Threading, 90 nanometers created on processing technique . High efficiency of motherboard MSI P4N Diamond is reached thanks to the processor bus with a transmission frequency of the given 1066/800/533/400 MHz and units of a two-channel subsystem of dynamic storage. Their support, including implementation of processing technique SLI, the newest chipset of system logic of nVidia corporation, known as provides a chip set nVidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition.

The structure of the computer created on the basis of the given chip set, is resulted in a Fig. 2.

Fig. 2. Structure of the computer created on the basis of a chip set

From the main features of the given chip set consisting of two chips — SPP (North Bridge) and MCP (South Bridge), it is necessary to mark possibility of usage of one or two videoadapters jointly handling each of output frames.

Besides, the chip set supports one-channel or two-channel functional modes of a subsystem of memory with units of type DDRII 667/533/400, and also high clock rates of the processor bus — 1066/800/533/400.

As to the second component of a chip set which are traditionally responsible for link with peripherals it supports: an eight-channel sound, gigabitnyj Ethernet, two ports ATA133 (four IDE), four ports SerialATA, to ten ports USB 2.0. For rise of dependability and-or high-speed performance of a subsystem of hard disk drives there is a possibility of multiplexing of disk drives in array RAID of levels 0/1/0+1.

All specified features of a chip set nVidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition have provided functionality of motherboard MSI P4N Diamond which appearance is resulted in a Fig. 3.

Fig. 3. Motherboard MSI P4N Diamond

The processor

         Support of the processor of Intel of Pentium 4 / Pentium 4 Extreme Edition / Pentium D / Pentium Extreme Edition / Celeron D in tank LGA775 with the system bus 533, 800, 1066 MHz,

Chip set

         nVidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition (SPP + MCP).

Dynamic storage

         Four plugs (240 contact electrodes) for dynamic storage DIMM,

         Support of one or two channels of dynamic storage,

         DDR Units II 667 either DDR II 533, or DDR II 400, size from 256 Mb to 4 Gbytes everyone.


         Support of processing technique SLI.


         Sound Blaster Live 24-bit from Creative audio the controller on chip CA0106.

Serial ATA

         Four ports Serial ATA 150.


         Two ports IDE (Ultra DMA 66/100/133).


         Support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1.

USB 2.0

         Ten ports USB 2.0.


         Three ports IEEE1394 (2 – on a backboard, 2 – portable on the front panel), realised through chip VIA 6306


         two network plugs Are supported.
- 1st LAN plug supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by means of chip Marvell 88E1111 phy,
- 2nd PCI Express LAN plug supports 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by means of chip Marvell 88E8053.

System BIOS

         BIOS the motherboard supports a mode "Plug&Play" which automatically defines peripheral devices and extension maps.

         the System board has function Desktop Management Interface (DMI) which remembers motherboard parametres.

Plugs of input/output of a backboard

         One parallel port,

         One serial port,

         keyboard and mouse Ports PS/2,

         One coaxial SPDIF an output

         One sound 6-v-1 plug (S/SPDIF out)

         One port IEEE1394,

         Four ports USB 2.0,

         Two RJ-45 plugs.


         One PCI slot Express x16 (works in a mode h16/h8),

         One PCI slot Express x16 (works in a mode h8/h1),

         One PCI slot Express x1,

         Two PCI slots.

Form factor


         the Sizes of 305 mm h 244 mm.

It is necessary to mark, that motherboard MSI P4N Diamond is oriented as a basis of high-powered systems. Therefore together with it it is expedient to use the most powerful processors of Intel. However can use and less efficient models of type of Intel Celeron.

From features of the motherboard, first of all, it is necessary to mark that are linked to implementation by processing technique SLI.

Used videoadapters can be installed in two special slots resulted in a Fig. 4. These slots support specifications PCI Express x16. Two modes are Thus possible: a usual mode and mode SLI.

In a usual mode the first PCI-E plug works in mode PCI Express x16, and
Second PCI-E plug works in mode PCI Express x1.

In mode SLI the first PCI-E plug works in mode PCI Express x8 and second PCI-E plug works also in mode PCI Express x8.

Fig. 4. Motherboard MSI P4N Diamond plugs

Switching is carried out built in the motherboard architecture by hardware-software resources.

From one more feature of the architecture it is necessary to mark an audiosubsystem. A basis is Sound Blaster Live 24-bit from Creative — audio the controller on chip CA0106 (audio 24-bit, 96~192КГц, a signal to noise ratio 100дБ, modes of 7.1 channels of audio, system Surround Sound, processing technique Dolby Digital are supported, digital interface S/PDIF is supported, corresponds to specification PCI 2.3).

Two network controllers Gigabit Ethernet are built in the motherboard architecture. Hooking up to a local computer network is carried out through built in RJ45 (LAN plugs.

Drives HDD are hooked up by means of ports Serial ATA 150 and ports Parallel ATA-133. For rise of dependability of subsystem HDD it is possible to use RAID RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1.

It is necessary to mark also, that in motherboard MSI P4N Diamond architecture a number of the firm processing techniques facilitating maintenance of the computer and expanding its functional properties is realised.

The same who will decide to take advantage of the given product of current technologies, it is necessary to remind, that high efficiency demands the appropriate videoadapters which price is happy is high. Besides, the computer system with processing technique SLI and two videoadapters, is characterised by heat release high level, therefore appropriate resources of cooling and cooling of tank of a system unit are necessary for a quiescent operation of such system. Operation of two videoadapters is accompanied by the raised level of acoustic noise. It is necessary to add, that for such efficient system the powerful power supply is required also. All it raises complexity and computer cost. Such is the card for high efficiency which quite often is required for modern applications, for example, such as games of the last generation.

As to numerical estimations of the productivity provided with processing technique SLI it is possible to judge it by 5 results resulted in a Fig.

Fig. 5. Results of testing of motherboard MSI P4N Diamond

As the result of all aforesaid, the described motherboard MSI P4N Diamond which has embodied in the architecture a number of the newest, perspective processing techniques, can be recommended a wide range of users.

Motherboard MSI P4N Diamond is given by the Moscow representation of company Micro-Star International

Article is published in log Magic of the PC.

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