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G45 And GeForce 9400: Integrated Chipsets For Core 2

G45 And GeForce 9400: Integrated Chipsets For Core 2
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Only a few years ago, chipset comparisons were true performance shootouts. While this is still the case at the high end, where top-of-the-line core logic has to support multiple-GPU setups, today’s mainstream systems can be equipped with integrated graphics with little fuss. Chipsets are now more often compared in terms of their features and power consumption, since basic performance is typically pretty constant. Given that backdrop, we looked at the two more recent Core 2-based integrated platforms: Intel’s G45 and the Nvidia GeForce 9400 mGPU.

Integrated Chipsets Today

Enthusiasts used to fear the “integrated” moniker, as it generally meant both pathetic performance and inflexibility, regardless of whether the chipset was provided by AMD, Intel, Nvidia, SiS, VIA, or someone else. But those days are now long past. Even the cheapest desktop system you can get today will be fast enough to browse the Web, work on office files, and play multimedia content.

Today’s integrated chipsets not only include relatively flexible graphics units, they also come with quick network controllers, plenty of USB and storage interfaces, and limited--but still available--upgrade paths. Many of them can even be paired with high-performance processors, turning these systems into fairly muscular desktop PCs.

Powering The PC Of Tomorrow

In fact, integrated solutions have a bright future. On the one hand, the majority of PC systems sold has always been based on integrated core logic. On the other hand, increased integration and flexibility move these compact, integrated solutions closer to fully featured ATX boxes, while maintaining lower space requirements and cost.

Using an inexpensive Pentium Dual Core or Celeron, a small amount of RAM, and an ordinary 320 GB hard drive puts our two test systems into the budget price range. In contrast, a fast Core 2 Quad with 4 GB of memory and a fast drive will make these systems as fast as any other enthusiast platform—as long as you don’t look at graphics performance. In such a case, Nvidia has a little advantage over Intel, as the Hybrid SLI feature lets the system team its motherboard GPUs with an additional, low-cost graphics card. It still won’t give you competitive 3D performance, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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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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