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Today, AMD is unveiling two new chipsets featuring integrated graphics cores: the 780G comes with a Radeon HD3200 chip, while the 780V sports an HD3100 GPU. We tested the 780G version.
The integrated HD3100 and HD3200 GPUs offer the same functionality as the current generation of add-in graphics cards, namely DirectX 10 support, dual-GPU operation in the form of CrossFire, HDMI with HDCP, full HDTV support, and a PCI Express 2.0 interface.
The motherboard's BIOS lets you borrow 128, 256 or 512 MB of RAM from the system's RAM, to allocate it as video memory to the integrated GPU. For the first time ever, AMD is also equipping its integrated graphics chip with a separate memory interface. This allows motherboard makers and OEMs to provide dedicated graphics memory for the integrated chip directly on the board, if they find the GPU's performance unsatisfactory, or don't wish to use a shared-memory solution. In effect, this transforms the integrated on-chip graphics solution into a dedicated graphics card that just happens to reside in the northbridge. AMD has not announced yet whether any of its board partners are considering this sort of move, though.
Rendering Vista's Aero Glass user interface poses no problem for the integrated graphics chip.
|Overview: AMD and Intel Chipsets|
|Graphics Unit:||X1250||HD3200||HD3100||GMA 3100||GMA X3500|
|Graphics Clock Speed:||500 MHz||500 MHz||500 MHz||400 MHz||667 MHz|
This table compares the integrated graphics units of AMD's 690G, 780G and 780V chipsets, as well as Intel's G33 and G35.
During our tests, we were only able to get Hybrid CrossFire to work using ATI's Catalyst 8.1 driver. The more recent Catalyst 8.2 does not recognize the system's CrossFire capability.