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


According to statistics, integrated graphics chips on motherboards are on the advance. However, as our last review of integrated graphics solutions showed, these chips still have quite a ways to go before they can start to measure up against the performance of even low-end add-in cards.

In the article mentioned above, we focused mainly on the advantages in pricing that integrated graphics offer the system manufacturers. Those who purchase PCs with integrated graphics are usually either first-time buyers looking for the least expensive offer or those who have gotten lost and confused in the dense jungle of the shiny product advertisements, blinded by the big MHz numbers. So to understand what to look for in a modern graphics chip, let us review the architecture of various graphics chips that we have seen over the last few years. Based on this, we will try to give you an overview of the options available to buyers today and make some recommendations.

Leaving aside the PC enthusiast, there are two kinds of home PC users. Most buy a pre-built PC, either as a brand PC or as a special offer at their local electronics store. This is known as the OEM market (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The more experienced users tend to assemble their computers from individual parts that they buy as OEM or bulk ware (i.e. no box and without extra features) or as retail parts (normal box, manual and full feature set). This is the usual approach when upgrading an existing PC.