nForce approaches.. but is it ready?

NVIDIA's nForce chipset announcement caused a stir, but its impending arrival has been met largely with indifference. There are conflicting reports about whether or not nForce is ready for prime time. Anand noted in the opening to his Comdex motherboard round-up:
Unfortunately NVIDIA's nForce has not been met with such great enthusiasm by motherboard manufacturers. The five launch partners for the nForce are still dealing with various issues in their designs in spite of the fact that NVIDIA's reference boards have been running just fine. One manufacturer even told us that they weren't sure if their nForce board would hit before the end of the year.
Adding to the confusion: ASUS's A7N266 apparently lacks integrated APU (sound) support. Despite the fact that the reference boards are running just fine, rumors have cropped up that this move away from the integrated components was tied to difficutlies within the MCP itself. Again, from Anand's Comdex motherboard report:
At the same time, the regular A7N266 uses the basic MCP which has the same audio core as the MCP-D without Dolby Digital encoding support. ASUS is using this as justification to offer an additional C-Media hardware sound chip on the board although we don't necessarily agree with their decision nor do we think it's necessary.
There has been some debate on this subject here at TR. I suppose the issue won't be put to rest until nForce boards become widely available.

We won't have to wait too long for the arrival of the boards now. Mark sends word that Akihabara Japan already has the MSI K7N420 Pro on sale. The price? About 175 US dollars. is advertising the arrival of the K7N420 for 11/29 for $187.

In the meantime, MSI has posted a test report of a variety of hardware brands that are compatible with their nForce board. I know it will break the heart of conspirators everywhere, but the Radeon is compatible.

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