Bhairav, thanks for asking. I’ve shifted from Hotmail to GMail, and am pretty happy, esp. what with Hotmail’s poor 2MB > 250MB migration, and dropping WebDAV support (it also made my migration from Outlook Express to Mozilla Thunderbird an easy choice as well).
One report I have heard on the NForce4’s hardware firewall (now dubbed ActiveArmor) is it is far less CPU intensive under load. This sounds odd to me, well, not really as much as it sounds odd that the NF3 should have any load at all with a hardware-based firewall, but that’s what I have read. Also, the SATA channels have been upped from 1.5GB/sec to 3GB/sec, with improved RAID. Of course, the transfer rates is higher than a drive can probably do. What I’m hoping for is that the NForce4 will add Native Command Queuing support to their SATA setup. And finally, the NF4 chipset will probably have a better SLI setup for their Geforce 66xx/68xx graphics cards, though that will benefit some more than others. Not sure whether I’d consider an SLI setup or not.
As for audio, unless you have a Dolby Digital speaker setup, you’re stuck going through analog anyway. I have yet to see an incredible onboard DAC chip on any mainboard including SoundStorm ones. Unless you have a 5.1 speaker setup (I don’t have the space and despise cable clutter) or can afford Klipsch’s top-end 2.1 setup (the only 2.1 set I know with digital connects) or the cost and bulk of a receiver/speaker set with digital connects, a separate sound card with a better onboard DAC will produce higher quality analog results anyway. Kind of a shame.