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Intel G45 Express Chipset

G45 And GeForce 9400: Integrated Chipsets For Core 2
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Intel’s G45 was released last year as part of the 4-series chipset family. While the P45 and P43 are discrete chipset solutions, the G45, G43, and G41 are the models with integrated graphics. The G41 and G43 are limited to 8 GB of RAM and they don’t support 1080p/i HD video acceleration. The G41 only has eight instead of 12 USB 2.0 ports, and four rather than six SATA/300 ports, due to the ICH7 southbridge; all other 4-series chipsets are based on the ICH10. The P45 and P43 only differ in the way they support PCIe graphics: the P45 can divide its 16 lanes across two physical x16 slots for dual graphics, which is a must-have for enthusiasts.

Details

The G45 is built on Intel’s 65 nm manufacturing process, while the 3-series chipsets were still manufactured at 90 nm. The P45 is rated at a TDP of 22 W and it is rather interesting that the graphics-added model G45 is only two watts above that. Keep in mind that these numbers do not include the TDP for the ICH10 southbridge, which is rated at 4.5 W; it is not a 65 nm part. Both components connect via Intel’s proprietary Direct Media Interface (DMI), which is based on PCI Express and provides a total bandwidth of 2 GB/s.

Memory Support

All 4-series chipsets support either DDR2 or DDR3 memory, and it’s up to the motherboard manufacturer to design their boards for one or the other—or both, though that requires more memory sockets. It’s not possible to utilize DDR2 and DDR3 at the same time on hybrid motherboards. Both test motherboards we received are based on DDR2 memory for cost reasons, as the performance difference is negligible unless DDR3 memory is operated at speeds of DDR3-1600 or higher. 8 GB is the memory limit, and ECC is not supported.

Processor Support

All Socket 775 processors based on the Core 2 architecture are supported. This includes the recent Celeron E1000 Dual Cores, Pentium Dual Core E2000 and up, the Core 2 Duo E4000-E8000, and all Core 2 Quad processors up to the Extreme Edition. The last of these requires the motherboard to specifically support these models, as the power consumption exceeds the typical thermal envelopes of 65-95 W, reaching up to 130 W.

The G45 with ICH10 supports RAID 0, 1, and 0+1, and RAID 5 if the ICH10R is used. Six PCIe lanes and six SATA/300 ports with AHCI and NCQ support, as well as 12 USB 2.0 ports, provide excellent connectivity. HD audio and a Gigabit network interface are mandatory today and included as well.

Video Acceleration and Graphics

Intel says the chipset assists the CPU in decoding Full HD H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2 video, which it does well. We found a CPU load of 6.2% with a Core 2 Quad Q9550s (2.83 GHz) and 8.85% on a Core 2 Quad Q8200s (2.33 GHz). The graphics unit is based on ten unified shaders, which run at 800 MHz clock speed and access up to 512 MB of the main memory. Note that while this is better and faster than all previous generation, it is still insufficient to even remotely match pace with discrete graphics solutions.

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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.
    Period.
    End of Story.

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/hybrid_sli_desktop.html
    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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