The Competitors: Intel 865G And 915G
BIOS Version: December 8, 2003
We picked an Intel 865G MicroATX motherboard from DFI (PS35-BL) for benchmark comparisons with the 9100 Pro IGP reference board. It comes equipped with all basic components including a 100 MBit network interface, AC97 sound system, four USB 2.0 ports, three PCI slots and two DIMM sockets only. These are features that satisfy OEMs, system builders and other customers.
That is, by the way, exactly the motherboard configuration for which ATI aims. As you could see in the Southbridge comparison table, there are only three PCI slots supported - that is exactly the amount motherboard makers incorporate into their MicroATX products.
Although our revision A PS35-BL ran perfectly with the Prescott 3.0 GHz processor we used for this review, you should definitely try to get revision C, as the revision A had not been designed for the power-gorging Pentium 4 Prescott.
In contrast to the 9100 Pro IGP, Intel lacks some graphics features like gamma correction, FSAA, pixel shaders and multi-display support. Thus, the main threat for ATI will be Intel's upcoming Grantsdale-G or 915G chipset with the renewed 3D engine called Graphics Media Accelerator 900. Featuring four pixel pipelines and a PCIe interface, we expect the 915G to perform at least as good as the ATI solution when paired with DDR400 memory and to outperform it when running with DDR2-533.