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G45 And GeForce 9400: Integrated Chipsets For Core 2

Intel and Nvidia both offer integrated chipsets for Socket 775, and the two platforms appear to be very similar at first glance. But they are, in fact, very different when you turn them inside out, when it comes to doing more than just office work. Both are manufactured on 65 nm processes, but the Intel G45 chipset is based on two chips, while Nvidia crammed all of its features into a single piece of silicon. Intel focuses on turning the platform into an all-in-one solution for the office and the digital home, while Nvidia capitalizes on its floating point horsepower, which is provided by the 16 unified shaders.

Intel G45: The Clockwork Chipset

If you browse Intel’s product database at you’ll find that the G45 chipset is guaranteed to be manufactured for 7+ years, which is a significant factor for corporate users or system builders, who want to support their systems for a long time. This also applies to drivers: even though Intel had a pretty rough start with its G45 platform, the driver support has been steady.

We did not perform a lot of graphics testing, as we don’t believe it makes a lot of sense to treat G45 like a gaming platform when in fact it is not, but you can expect G45 motherboards to deliver a reliable and timely integrated graphics platform. It’s faster than any Intel chipset before it, though it still cannot catch up to discrete graphics solutions.

Nvidia GeForce 9400 mGPU: The Visualist

We found that the GeForce 9400 motherboard by DFI was more power efficient at peak loads than the G45, while providing 2-3x more 3D performance. As a result, the Nvidia platform is considerably superior when it comes to power efficiency under 3DMark Vantage, which we used as a 3D workload. Efficiency in desktop applications and video playback is on par with the G45 and so is performance. If you don’t know what to buy, you can purchase the cheaper solution with confidence, as long as you trust the brand.

However, the Nvidia chipset has two aces up its sleeves: CUDA and PhysX. Chances are good that a more significant number of applications will be adjusted to take advantage of Nvidia GPUs and their massive floating point performance, in order to accelerate workloads such as video or audio transcoding, image rendering, encryption or decryption and so forth. The same applies to PhysX, which can be used to increase behavioral realism in 3D environments.

In the end, we recommend a GeForce 9400 mGPU platform if you’re not sure what to use, if you get a better deal than on a G45 motherboard, or if you are into video and gaming. In these segments, the Nvidia platform is superior to Intel’s offering. The G45 remains the best choice if you’re already working with Intel hardware and intend to stay on familiar ground.

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  • 23 Hide
    zerapio , April 8, 2009 8:41 AM
    I find the tests kind of lame. How about testing other chipset features like network performance, audio quality, video decoding quality, USB transfer speeds, RAID or storage performance. The review centered on the feature where everyone knew what the outcome would be. Boring!
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    falchard , April 8, 2009 6:31 AM
    lol lame comparison. I don't think people doubted the 9400 mGPU would trounce the G45 in every aspect. I would have liked to see a 790GX comparison.
  • 2 Hide
    tacoslave , April 8, 2009 6:57 AM
    i know but lets face it amd chipsets own. i know some intel users would kill for a 790gx.
  • 3 Hide
    dangerous_23 , April 8, 2009 7:24 AM
    how do the raid controllers on these mobos compare?
  • 4 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , April 8, 2009 8:13 AM
    oh ... Intel IGP again huh ...... the benchmark just show that Intel IGP are piece of crap , lol XD
  • 23 Hide
    zerapio , April 8, 2009 8:41 AM
    I find the tests kind of lame. How about testing other chipset features like network performance, audio quality, video decoding quality, USB transfer speeds, RAID or storage performance. The review centered on the feature where everyone knew what the outcome would be. Boring!
  • 0 Hide
    thedipper , April 8, 2009 9:00 AM
    Now compare both companies' entire lineups with the price, consumption, and performance ratios of an AMD 780G.
  • 0 Hide
    pirateboy , April 8, 2009 11:28 AM
    what a BS article...lazy lazy
  • 1 Hide
    Pei-chen , April 8, 2009 12:38 PM
    You have two charts marked "PCMark Vantage Gaming Suite" with different results.

    BTW, 9400 beats 790GX on AnandTech's by about 25% (might be other review site). I also don't remember the power consumption result but it should be close.
  • 0 Hide
    98silvz71 , April 8, 2009 12:38 PM
    Lets face it, I knew Intel would lose, but if I was just using my computer for searching the web and other kinds of office work I would buy integrated graphics, and I would get them from Intel. I never worry about leaving my mom and dad to use my old computer which is a 865G, because the thing is stable as a rock. I have had 2 experiences with a Nvidia chipsets (680i, and one of the 7 series ones) and they haven't been good. System restarting due to heat issues, etc. I don't know about the new ones like this one tested here but I would be a little leary of it.
  • 4 Hide
    hustler539 , April 8, 2009 12:52 PM
    WoW would have been a good test for these integrated solutions.
  • 0 Hide
    solymnar , April 8, 2009 1:08 PM
    I think the item of note this article points out is that the Nvidia solution not only (expectedly) trounces the bejesus out of the Intel IGP but also does so while consuming less power, and this with a 4 phase motherboard. Not too shabby at all. Before reading this I would have assumed the the Nvidia chipset would consume notably more power than the Intel one.

    I can't disagree with the comments that it could have been more thorough in going over feature comparisons such as raid performance etc., but it doesn't mean the article is worthless.
  • 2 Hide
    Nossy , April 8, 2009 1:16 PM
    I have the 9300 (Asus P5n7a-VM) and it plays WOW at 30fps at medium settings at 1400x700. Is the 9300/9400 worth it? Maybe. It provides an alternative to 790/780 and G45, and yeah it provides better 3D performance, but nothing that could satisfy the casual gamer to hardcore gamer. IGP still have a ways to go. WOW plays fine on it as well as 3-4 year old games. The good news is that 790gx has a competitor now and its a Core2Duo platform. I think this is a good alternative for C2D platform to be able to build a low profile HTPC for those who may have a Conroe and DDR2 laying around (like me).

    I am most satisified with the HTPC performance. A HDMI interface that can do 1080p/24 and 7.1 LPCM @ 192 KHz sampling rate onto my Denon 889. And occasional gaming with Half-Life 2, Eposide 1,2 and Team Fortress, some WOW, all on my 100 inch projection screen. It wakes from sleep almost flawlessly everytime.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 8, 2009 1:29 PM
    The Video playback test would have been more meaningful if a lower C2D or Pentium dual core was used.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 8, 2009 1:30 PM
    Where is the overclocking? Where are the game benchmarks - synthetics are all well and good but how about some COD4 benchmarks for example?
  • 1 Hide
    monkeysweat , April 8, 2009 2:34 PM
    how about comparing all integrated video platforms from all companies for use in HTPC systems that's really what this boils down to someone looking for high end intergrated video would be for that use,,perhaps show power useage & maybe some game & app use,,but also perhaps something that shows how well they play the HD video (jaggies test, smoothness, etc) because it don't mean crap if it can't do it well.
  • 0 Hide
    Warwick_Knight , April 8, 2009 2:36 PM
    I too was wondering how come the AMD Phenom and ATI 790gx were not in this work-up.

    It is nice to see what is up in Intel Land, but how does the Geforce 9400 solution compare to ATI 790gx? that is the question.

    How about running a comparison withe the ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 DDR3 AMD 790GX or the the DFI LP JR 790GX-M2RS AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX
  • 1 Hide
    scook9 , April 8, 2009 3:19 PM
    they keep mentioning CUDA and Nvidia's "floating point power" but dont use a single CUDA app...lame. All they had to do was get CS4 on there and do a few runs
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 8, 2009 3:46 PM
    Both boards seem to accelerate a single H.264 playback under Windows. Any thoughts on how Linux driver support is for video playback acceleration. Also, can the acceleration support two concurrent playbacks (under either Linux or Windows)?
  • -1 Hide
    marraco , April 8, 2009 4:46 PM
    [This also applies to drivers: even though Intel had a pretty rough start with its G45 platform, the driver support has been steady]

    I have a motherboard with Intel ICH5, and it does not works with XP installation, unless there is a PATA HD to be used as swap during isntallation. (and you can't remove it, even if you install windows on SATA disk).

    It is a Intel driver fault. Intel does not provides an updated ICH5 driver, because it "is included in Windows XP", which is buggy.

    On another side, Intel allows simultaneous RAID 0 and RAID 1 in different partitions, and have higher performance RAID.

    - I would like to see the integrated chipset benchmark as an additional PhysX processor when the main videocard is ATI or a discrete Nvidia.
  • 0 Hide
    Casper42 , April 8, 2009 5:42 PM
    You guys need to spend a little less time in the lab and a little more time on your vendors websites.

    "Hybrid Power, which is supposed to shut down graphics cards that aren’t used, didn’t work on our test sample, and it was mentioned as “only available in select designs” in Nvidia reviewer’s guide."

    Hybrid Power does NOT work on Intel platforms.
    End of Story.
    Scroll down and look at the "Hybrid SLI Enabled Motherboards" section.

    If you want Hybrid Power, you have to go with an AMD Board.
    Makes perfect sense right? :p 
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