The nVidia Corporation provides many advanced solutions for motherboards. The new chipset nForce4 is used by the most popular producers of the motherboards, such as the Chaintech Company. The new motherboard Chaintech nForce4 4x vnf4 Ultra VE implements the functionality of the original nVidia chipset, including a SLI feature.
An integrated network controller at the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE is implemented by tools of the standard nVidia logic set nForce4 Ultra and the additional PHY controller Vitesse VSC8201RX. In this way the motherboard supports 1 GB Ethernet protocols and has an integrated hardware tool for the network protection - ActiveArmor, that is a firewall at the hardware level. The nVidia Firewall 2.0 works on the motherboard without any troubles and provides an efficient protection of the system on the base of Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE. The system is becoming protected from network attacks, when the loading of a central processor is low.
The VNF4 has an integrated sound controller. The sound system is produced on the base of AC97 codec Realtek ALC850. The codec works with the nVidia driver and the configuration utility nvMixer. However, the quality of the solution implementation is not very high. Characteristics of the audio system are the following: a frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz) +0.49, -4.12 dB; a noise level; -70.6 db (A); a dynamic range 73 db (A); a THD 0.022 %; an IMD 0.114 %; a Stereo crosstalk -69.5 dB; IMD at 10 kHz 5.062 %.
The general performance of this system can be evaluated as average and the noise level is high enough. The back panel of VNF4 contains six audio jack sockets, which support the technology Universal Audio Jack. There are no S/PDIF sockets at all. Nevertheless, it does not mean that VNF4 Ultra VE users are able to use only analogue acoustic systems. In theory, a linear output of the motherboard is able to work as a digital output if you have a special adapter.
Due to properties of the chipset nForce4 Ultra, the motherboard supports two Parallel ATA channels and four channels Serial ATA II. Thus, you can connect to the VNF4 Ultra VE up to eight hard disks. All disks can be connected to RAID arrays of the level 0,1,0+1. The Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE supports ten ports USB 2.0. Four ports are placed at the back panel of the motherboard. Six ports exist as pin-connectors at the PCB.
The motherboards on the base of previous nVidia chipsets had problems with the quality of the USB ports support implementation. The performance and capacity of the USB bus for the VNF4 Ultra VE were the tests with the utility AIDA32. There are the following measured characteristics: the USB 2.0 Bandwidth (Read) - 25.3 MB/s; the USB 2.0 CPU Utilizations (Read) - 17 %; the USB 2.0 Bandwidth (Write) -24.9 MB/s; the USB 2.0 CPU Utilizations (Write) - 16%.
These results are high enough and they prove that the USB bus for the new chipset nVidia nForce4 Ultra is higher than for the analogue bus in competition chipsets from Intel. Hence, the quality of the USB 2.0 bus implementation in the nForce4 is of a high quality.
The Chaintech VNF4 Ultra VE is treated as a high quality motherboard with many required functions. The disadvantages are an absence of the FireWire support and a low quality of the integrated sound. At the same time, these problems are not critical and, in general, the product is very good for the segment of budget solutions.