NVIDIA recently introduced its NForce3 Pro, a motherboard chipset that is compatible with the new Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Opteron 64-bit processor. The Opteron processor is significant for AMD because it challenges existing 64-bit CPUs such as the Intel Itanium, especially for the lucrative server market. The Opteron is significant for the market because it allows 64-bit operation, moving data with twice the speed of 32-bit CPUs, but still supports existing 32-bit applications (such as Windows Server and XP) that are not available in 64-bit versions yet this will allow many IT managers to switch over to the much faster processor power without painful transition, and should spur the migration to 64-bit systems.
What is significant about the NForce3 Pro for NVIDIA is that this represents the companys first move into the professional workstation and 64-bit markets, with the ability to support features such as RAID and networking configurations for enterprise environments. A system configured with an NForce3 Pro and Opteron CPU running with an already-available Linux OS could be very competitive on price and performance with high-end systems from vendors such as Sun. To further calm the frayed nerves of transition-wary IT execs, NVIDIA is offering its Unified Driver Architecture with the NForce3 Pro, for simplified deployment across multiple platforms and for future upgrades. For more information, visit www.nvidia.com.