Nvidia nForce2 faces delays

The version of Nvidia's latest chipset that comes with integrated graphics should be available by now, but motherboard manufacturers say they are still waiting

Chip manufacturer Nvidia is experiencing delays with some versions of the nForce2 chipset, according to several motherboard manufacturers.

The nForce2 chipset, which controls the flow of data between a processor and other system components such as the memory, graphics engine, hard disk and other peripherals, was unveiled in July. It comes in two versions -- and it appears to be the mostly highly anticipated version that is suffering from delays.

Motherboard manufacturers say they had been told that both versions of the chipset -- the Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) and System Platform Processor (SPP) -- would arrive at the same time. But with SPP versions appearing in stores now, there is still no sign of the IGP versions, which have integrated GeForce4 MC graphics, say manufacturers.

Aside from the integrated GeForce graphics, advances in nForce2 include support for a number of new connections technologies including USB 2.0, the IEEE 1394a version of FireWire and HyperTransport, an AMD-initiated effort to create a new type of high-speed connection between chips.

"Unfortunately, Nvidia has delayed the nForce2 schedule again, which will make it tough for us to deliver this year," said one motherboard maker. "We're expecting production in mid-December, which will miss the Christmas rush."

Another major manufacturer, who asked not to be identified for fear of damaging its Nvidia relationship, said that SPP versions of its nForce2-based motherboard are shipping now and should be available in quantity next week, but it is still waiting for chipsets with integrated graphics.

"We have heard reports that boards with (integrated) graphics are unworkable," said the spokeswoman. "If the motherboard is unstable you need more time for the engineers to debug it. We have had no update from Nvidia, we have no new schedule."

Nvidia did not respond to requests for comment.

The nForce chipset is not the only product causing problems for Nvidia. The company has recently experienced delays with the NV30 graphics processor, which is now due to appear at Comdex next week. Analysts expect Nvidia to have only a handful of chips on the market by Christmas, with no volume shipments until early next year.

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