The next step on ATI's roadmap: Integrated goes PCI-Express
The results of this comparison are sobering. Integrated graphics chips represent the lowest level of graphics performance available in the market today. Even inexpensive add-in cards in the $50 price category play in another performance league altogether. Not even the DirectX 8 capabilities of the IGP 9100 can change that. While ATi's chip has no trouble outpacing Intel and SiS, in most cases it has to take a back seat to the nForce 2 with its theoretically outdated DirectX 7 architecture.
In our tests, the Gigabyte GA-8TRS300M consistently failed to reach the performance levels of ATi's reference motherboard. This doesn't really make much of a difference at the performance level in question, at least not where integrated graphics are concerned. How ATi's chipset stacks up against the competition in applications is a question for another article.
In the end, we can only recommend PCs with integrated graphics with a clear conscience to users who are sure they will never play a 3D game on their PC. While office applications, surfing the internet and the like won't pose any problems, games are a different matter, as even older titles will quickly have these chips gasping for air. In that case, the only remedy is to reduce the games' resolutions, reducing the already low detail level and consequently bringing the fun factor down even further. To users who can live with these limitations and want an integrated solution, we offer the following recommendation: If you're building an Intel system, go with ATi; if you're planning on using an AMD processor, stick with NVIDIA. The 3D performance of Intel's and SiS's solutions are simply too low to merit a recommendation.