Friday night topic: nForce4 problems?

— 5:14 PM on November 4, 2005

My article about building my new PC brought a lot of folks out the woodwork who shared similar problems with their nForce4-based systems. I work with nForce4 test rigs almost daily and have for the last year, and I've become acutely aware of some of the chipset's weaknesses and purported issues. Online forums are brimming with discussions of several key problems, as well. I noted some of these problems in my initial review of the nForce4 one year ago, and some of them persisted in April when the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition was introduced. From what I've gathered, the problems fall into a few main areas.

First, there are the Ethernet problems, which seem to center on the ActiveArmor acceleration. For one, the highly touted hardware-level TCP offloading acceleration has long been a work in progress. Sometimes, it doesn't work, and other times with newer drivers, it does. I think NVIDIA is making headway, but as I noted, nvtcp.sys caused a BSOD on my new system. A year into the life of the product, they still seem to be struggling with getting their Ethernet acceleration right. I've heard that these problems may clear up if you're willing to forego the acceleration and just use the Ethernet port. What have you guys found?

Next, there is the large file data corruption issue that some folks have noted. I've not run into it myself. Have you all?

I have, though, run into the boot-time problem with the nForce4 IDE drivers. Sometimes, Windows XP is very slow to boot, and the Event log shows errors during a paging operation. Some folks say you can fix these problems by disabling command queuing, but in my experience, I've had to uninstall the NVIDIA drivers entirely in order to avoid the problem. This problem persists even on the latest 6.70 drivers for 32-bit Windows.

Are you all seeing these same sets of problems? Are the three described above persistent over time, or have you found fixes that aren't just workarounds? Any other problems that seem to be common to a high percentage of nForce4 motherboards? Or do you think some of these issues are confined to a single mobo or brand of board?


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