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HD3400 In The Northbridge With Additional Memory

AMD's New 780G Chipset Has Powerful GPU

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 780G chipset on the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2 motherboard

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.

Selecting the size of the video memory - 128, 256 or 512 MB

The SB700 southbridge on the Gigabyte board

Rendering Vista's Aero Glass user interface poses no problem for the integrated graphics chip.

Overview: AMD and Intel Chipsets
Northbridge 690G 780G 780V G33 G35
Graphics Unit: X1250 HD3200 HD3100 GMA 3100 GMA X3500
Graphics Clock Speed: 500 MHz 500 MHz 500 MHz 400 MHz 667 MHz
DirectX: 9 10 10 9 10
OpenGL: 1.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 2.0
Pixel Shader: n/a 4.0 4.0 2.0 4.0
Vertex Shader: n/a 4.0 4.0 3.0 4.0
PCIe: 1.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 1.0
Hypertransport: HT2.0 HT3.0 HT3.0 - -
HD-Video: no yes yes no no
HDMI: yes yes yes no no
HDMI 5.1-Audio: yes yes yes no no

This table compares the integrated graphics units of AMD's 690G, 780G and 780V chipsets, as well as Intel's G33 and G35.

Gigabyte's GA-MA78GM-SH2 uses the 780G chipset

Its predecessor, the GA-MA69GM-S2H, with a 690G chipset

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.

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