My main question is how is the on board GFX? It's an ATI Radeon HD 3300 Graphics 128MB DDR3 SidePort memory. What does sideport memory mean? Will it be using my DDR3 sticks, or does it have it's own memory?
I don't game. This machine will primarily be a photo editing/video editing/web browsing machine. If any games are to be played it will be Counter Strike and Doom 3.
My main question is how is the on board GFX? It's an ATI Radeon HD 3300 Graphics 128MB DDR3 SidePort memory.
The 3300 is, I believe, the second fastest integrated graphics chip that AMD makes - if you're not planning intense gaming with it, I think you'll be fine; another point to be made is that gamers chase frame-rates that are well beyond the accuity of the human visual 'hardware' - roughly 30 fps...
What does sideport memory mean?
The 'sideport' memory is a 128M 'chunk' of DDR3 memory soldered onto the board - I'm not positive, but I believe it's under the northbridge cooler assembly. This is the equivalent of the memory found on a graphics card - it's 'dedicated' to the GPU. In the BIOS, under "Advanced BIOS Features", there is a setting, "Internal Graphics Mode" that allows you to pick: 'Disabled', to disable the onboard graphics controller; 'UMA', which allocates memory for the onboard graphics controller from your system memory; 'SidePort', which uses the on-board, dedicated SidePort memory for the onboard graphics controller; and 'UMA+SidePort', which allocates memory for the onboard graphics controller from the main system memory, as well as using the SidePort memory. The next setting, "UMA Frame Buffer Size", determines the total amount of main system memory allocated solely for the onboard graphics controller: 128MB, 256MB, or 512MB, when you have 'UMA' or 'UMA+SidePort' selected above...
I am also in the process of building a PC for work on photo -Photoshop, browsing and mail. No games
I am using at present a two monitor setup with two independent graphics cards so that I can calibrate separately the two monitors.
Will I be able to do the same using the on board graphics for one monitor and an add on graphics board for the second?
I've just purchased this board after much deliberating over an i7/i5 system vs a multicore AMD option. Like you I don't game a lot but when I do I must admit I like to see all the pretty stuff SO... I persevered for a whole 24 hours with the Intergrated graphics and then bought a nice HD4870 1GB card to compliment the rig...
In my opinion, It's a good board and the Intergrated graphics are good enough for watching movies at 1920x1080 res (Full HD res) and general computing. As long as you have a decent multicore processor with DDR3 capable encoding and plenty of good quality RAM you'll be fine with your photoshop and video... Some good upgrading potential and overclocking settings too.
My only gripe so far is that I purchased some Corsair 1600 DDR3 Dual Channel memory and can't seem to overclock the stock standard max setting of 1333MHz uo to 1600MHz like Gigabyte's website says I should be able to