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Integrated VGA & How Good Is ATi's Radeon 9100 IGP?

ATi Radeon 9100 IGP

The newest chipset sporting integrated graphics comes from ATi and carries the designation Radeon 9100 IGP (Codename RS300). We already covered its competitors in detail in our previous article in September of 2003.

The Radeon 9100 IGP chipset supports Intel Pentium 4 processors with an FSB up to 800 MHz. It consists of two chips, the RS300 northbridge which is manufactured on a 150-nanometer process, and the IXP200 southbridge. The graphics processor is integrated in the northbridge and is accessed via an internal AGP 8x connection. The chipset supports a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. Thanks to its dual-DDR memory technology, it delivers a theoretical peak memory bandwidth of 6.4 GB/s.

The southbridge offers up to six USB ports, two ATA-100 IDE channels, an I/O controller and an integrated 3COM network adapter. It does not include a sound chip, however. The northbridge and southbridge communicate via a point-to-point interface at a data transfer rate of 266 MB/s, which puts ATi's solution on a level with Intel's i865/i875 chipsets. Thanks to its Hyper-Transport architecture, NVIDIA's nForce 2 can offer a much higher data rate, coming in at 800 MB/s. The undisputed champion in this category is VIA's PT880, though, which lets the two components of its chipset communicate at a blazing fast 1066 MB/s. In practice, the transfer speed has practically no measurable, let alone tangible, effect on performance.