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Chatlog for nForce Fall chat

We have posted both a cleaned up version of the chatlog as well as the raw chatlog from our NVIDIA nForce Fall chat.

[review_ad] Introduction


The 10th of November 2003 we held a chat with NVIDIA’s nForce team. While the chat started a bit chaotic, one of Scott’s kids decided it was fun to stab a second kid in the neck with a pencil .., we managed to get it going after some delays. Below you can both download a unedited raw chatlog as well as read my cleaned up and summarized version of the chat. We want to thank both all of you who took the time to attend the chat as well as NVIDIA for taking time to answer as many questions as possible. I also want to thank all the ops, CrashMaster, Bantha, Chad etc., who helped moderate the chat while I was sleeping.

The chatlogs


You can download the ‘raw’ chatlog here: Raw chatlog .

Sound (DD=Dolby Digital)

Q: “what’s the high pitched sound when no sound is playing on ASUS boards”

A: The question back to you would be: what inputs, if any, are unmuted? Those are areas where there can be noise from the system “leaking in” to the APU, and when it is recorded and amplified it sounds very noisy.

Q: Well there’s that annoying sound with the SoundStorm when there hasn’t been a sound for 1 minute

A: This is correct. The DDICE setup is turned off in periods of no activity. This is something that we are changing in future drivers, so that it only affects non DD customers.

Q: Will zealously following Creative’s EAX spec. further remove audio quirks? Since 3.13, audio in BF1942 no longer breaks up! But sound I guess is still an issue with a lot of users

A: Clarify that one please? These are two different issues. We attempt to find and fix bugs as soon as we find them. We also do all we can to be in compliance with EAX in titles, regardless of who writes that code. A lot of time has been spent on the 3.xx series drivers knocking out audio bugs. And we’re still working on more, obviously :)

Q: Some people are still complaining about crackling sound ...

A: mss_nvidia says “ah, the infamous crackle”

Q: Is that a myth? (which I don’t have anymore)

A: We know what causes it on some systems, thus it is fixed for many in 3.66 (3.13 UDP). Still others continue to have this issue, but we don’t see it any longer. Getting more detailed specs on the systems that still have the problem would be useful. Again drop info into NFHQ for us :)

Q: Hell yes, I get screeching using my scroll wheel! And mysterious humming from speakers.. regardless of audio being played or not. What causes it in “some” systems?

A: “Misc. audio problems”. This is interesting, because we don’t see those sorts of things here with our boards. It would be good to know more about your specific system config. I have seen this on systems that are very slow, malconfigured, or have a really, really bad PCI device and drivers installed. You can always try turning off APIC, and USB, make sure you have mem and fsb running in sync.

(Addition from CrashMaster and Bantha, moderators: Check your grounding, I have seen this when your speakers are plugged into a different power outlet than your computer is. I would recommend the speakers and computer be plugged into the same outlet.)

Q: Was the sound-hanging issue that we saw on motherboards like Abit NF7-S 1.2 driver or hardware related, when you had to close down all programs that used the audio-subsystem in order to get functioning sound again?

A: I’m not familiar with that issue. It could be drivers, or BIOS, depending on when it was happening.

Q: Not asking about future hardware but what was the exact reason soundstorm was deleted from Nforce 3?

A: That’s a tough one. It is a feature we love and many of you love. Some of our customers, however, don’t want to pay for the extra cost if they don’t see the same need. Again, your feedback to the motherboard partners affects our decisions of what to build.

Q: Does the nForce APU meet EAX3 and EAX4 requirements? If so can we expect driver support?

A: The hardware is capable. The spec is not widely available. I would like to support it, but we need some additional information before feeling ready to implement and call something EAX 3.

Q: What information would Nv need for Eax3/4 support?

A: If we had a game developer with full support implemented that we could test against, as well as a spec NOT from Creative, that would be useful.

Q: How has the support for the APU changed since the NFHQ mods started campaigning for it?

A: I’ve been working on it. There is no definitive decisions, regardless of what some websites say, of what we are doing on this

Ethernet questions

Q: Ask the nforce guys what they think about the recently released GPL’ed ethernet driver for there motherboard since nvidia’s release was not GPL

A: We don’t know that much about it, so we can’t recommend it.

Q: How come the nForce2 MB ethernet does not set the MAC address properly if you are not using a DHCP server?

A: MAC address should not have anything to do with DHCP. It sounds as though there may be some other configuration gremlin at work there. The MAC address issue is likely to be related to the programming of the MAC address of the system BIOS uniquely by the vendor. It is possible that a unique address was not programmed into the system BIOS.

Q: I’m one of the developers of forcedeth, the GPLed replacement for nvnet. We would very much like to get docs for the nForce ethernet to make the driver work better. Any chance in getting these docs?

A “We can’t talk about NDA information or other internal docs on this forum”. Send us a pm and we’ll see what can be done.

Future products

Q: Will the nforce2 or 3 be going mobile widespread like the IGP from ATI?

A: I think you are asking: Are we doing mobile NF parts? In any case, we aren’t talking about unannounced products on this chat, sorry.

Q: With out getting into any specific things will nv still be the overclocking king for main boards in the future since the nforce 3 backed away from that a little?

A: We intend to always be the best boards for the enthusiast / tweaker crowd. With integrated mem controllers, K8 certainly makes it more challenging, but we will find additional ways to squeeze more juice out of that platform

Benefits from nForce2

Q: I currently run a KT600 chipset and I have read the performance between the nforce2 is substantial, what benefits would I be gaining from a change?

A: The memory controller and overall latency in NF2 is much, much better than many competing solutions. If you did just normal things, like copied files, opened spreadsheets and the like, the system just “feels faster” Ask those who actually use NF boards side by side with other products, they can tell you first hand.

Drivers

Q: Why are the driver updates so long in coming?

A: This is due to a lot of work we’ve been doing to fix the UDP (unified package). We are making changes that should now allow for better QA and more timely releases

Q: Why do nVidia keep insisting on releasing only drivers on UDPs to the nForce2 chipset?

A: “Why not do independent packages for driver components”. We’re considering it. Some customers find it easier to get it all in one place.

Q: Ask if they are doing anything about the lack of driver support for the MCP-T in operative-systems like for example FreeBSD?

A: “Support for MCP-T in non-Windows OS’s”. We have been investigating better support where applicable. FreeBSD isn’t near the top of our list, however.

Q: What OSes are on the top of their lists then? (on the driver support)

A: XP, Win2K, Me, 98SE, Linux disto’s in order of popularity, then FreeBSD, then Others (Solaris and such).

Q: Since they seem to not be very interested in supporting *nix, are they willing to release information regarding the products so that others can write drivers for their own products?

A: We’ve done audio and gart and IDE to the public, so if we are willing. Graphics and networking are not public. So we’re pretty open.

IDE

Q:Why so many issues regarding SW IDE drivers and burners?

A: ATAPI devices vary from company to company in spec and configuration. This makes QA difficult, so we attempt to test across a broad range of devices. We’d like to hear exact specs on devices that have problems so we can get those devices and test with them. If you do encounter an issue, if you can provide the exact configuration of your storage devices (primary master, slave. Secondary master, slave) that would help immensely. You’re friendly neighborhood mods at NFHQ can help. Firmware revisions of the CD-RW drives are especially helpful. You can put them in the feedback threads setup specifically for IDE issues on www.nforcershq.com/forums

Q: With the new 3.63 Ethernet drivers there has been reported increased CPU usage. Is it a benefit to users to use this version and if so why?

A: We have made improvements in compatibility and have also improved some features in the newer networking drivers. We did unfortunately leave a small work-around for unreleased silicon. That extra code and overhead will be removed in a new driver release in the near future.

General

Q: When designing a chip, how much do the actual physical ATX motherboard design influence, particully since then you can take the memory controller out of the equation. For example some ASUS nForce3 Pro (early?) motherboards have a rather unusual socket placing?

A:”How much does chip design impact board layout, and vice versa”. Both impact each other quite a bit. We design chips and boards together, and pass those designs out to each partner. They can choose to implement the design as we build it, but they can each go off and do their own. Obviously, we recommend using our designs, since we validate on them

Q: I’d like to ask NV if the PCI and AGP busses are locked in the NF3 chipsets.

A: PCI is locked. AGP can be unlocked with the NV System Utility

Q: Since many computer enthusiast come from the Nordic region and there is a PR manager in the channel, I wonder is there any event planned in around Scandinavia?

A: what kind of event are you looking for? PR? Lan party? I’d have to ask our European PR folks though.

Q: What board manufacturers follow the nVidia reference design?

A: All of them get the design. Leadtek is usually the closest to it.

Q: How about the Leadtek nForce2 Ultra 400. Is that close to the ref design?

A: It should be reasonably close, though they still take liberties so they can ship a unique product.

Q: Is Nvidia Concentrating on optimising their drivers to give the most performance with matched Nvidia Graphics and Nforce, or is the development as strong when it comes to Nforce/Radeon systems?

A: We make every effort to achieve maximal performance in all system configurations. We do have a lot more flexibility when we own both the system and graphics side of the equation though.
NV System Utility

Q: NVIDIA System Utility have you heard if there is going to be much more support for the older Nforce2 motherboards??

A: Well funny you should ask. I’m on my way to visit customers in Taiwan shortly to ask for just that sort of support. We believe that as customers (i.e. you) demand it, they will add it on popular, currently shipping boards.

Q: Regarding NVSU support, what is the effort involved in supporting it.

A: The features which don’t show up in the ”basic” NVSU require bios changes by the motherboard partners. They can add the support as they feel comfortable doing so. This is not a lot of work for either NV or the partners.

Q: When the NForce2 was new there was a lot discussion about stepping on the NB and country of origin, what does this technically mean? A2/A3-stepping for example, is there supposed to be any difference?

A: We change specs all the time. There are different steppings of each chip over the lifetime of the product. We fix bugs when appropriate, and we make changes to reduce cost, heat, and other issues. Ideally, to you, there would be no noticeable diff between each revision.

General Issues

Q: Is “was” the “Save & Exit” BIOS Death bug chipset or motherboard maker related?

A: The only known instances that I have examined have been system BIOS related.

Q: OK I’m running Kingston HyperX PC3000 and set the FSB to 185 to make it total of 370Mhz but my Biostar see’s it as 200FSB instead of 185

A: This sounds also like a BIOS issue. Each vendor can choose one of two paths:
1. They can setup the boards according to our reference bios.
2. They can do their own and set the configs as they want them

Your vendor probably decided to read the SPDs and go with them over using our performance settings.

Q: Has anything been done to isolate, or solve the compatibility problem between the latest A1 revision nforce2 chipset in conjunction with many sticks of 512mb pc2700 memory, specifically Kingston pc2700 Valueram. The problem only occurs when the memory is used in conjunction with the A1 revision chipset, all other versions exhibit no problem.

A: This is generally seen as a bios issue, and your vendor may very well have a new bios that fixes the issue. We’ve seen this fixed on some boards already.

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