ATi Radeon 9100 IGP, Continued
Although the northbridge houses the integrated graphics, it only requires passive cooling.
Despite the fact that ATi's southbridge chip already comes with an integrated 3COM NIC, Gigabyte designed its board with an additional Realtek LAN-Chip. It's unclear whether the Super I/O functionality is handled by ATI's southbridge or by the additional ITE8712F-A HW-monitoring chip.
ATi's reference board and Gigabyte's design look very similar, but they differ in details. Interesting: The Winbond W83627THF chip found on ATi's board offers the usual I/O features in addition to the hardware monitoring functionality. Whether these are used instead of those already integrated in ATi's southbridge remains unclear. In any case, the features and abilities of ATi's chip are further called into question by the use of a separate Texas Instruments 21CH67T USB chip on its own reference board.
ATi's board features a much larger passive heatsink than Gigabyte's.
A look at the ATX panels of our two motherboards.