ATI Radeon Xpress 200G reference board
Quite a tempting package?
So what about the performance? Well, we tested the board using an Athlon 64 4000+ processor and the results are pretty encouraging, especially if production boards improve upon the scores that the reference board produced. What impressed me the most was the small difference in SYSMark 2004 between the integrated graphics and a discreet graphics card. A score of 194 was obtained using the integrated graphics; while a mere one point was gained using a Radeon X700 Pro card.
This is however not true for the remaining benchmarks, as in PCMark 2004 the scores were a fair bit lower using the integrated graphics. Oddly enough the memory test would crash out in PCMark 2004, although all the other tests completed just fine, whether the integrated graphics were used or not. The 3D scores are far from great, but at least a playable frame rate of 34.2 fps was obtained in Unreal Tournament 2004.
With the supplied Radeon X700 Pro card the scores were, however, much better and the Radeon Xpress 200 chipset is as viable an option as a VIA or Nvidia chipset for a PCI Express-based Athlon 64 system. The only downside is the low feature count, especially the lack of an integrated network adapter, but hopefully ATI will address this in the very near future.
Overall the Radeon Xpress 200 impressed us and I would expect to see it in a fair few laptops, as we did with the Radeon 9100 Pro IGP on the Pentium 4 side. Hopefully it will also help speed up the transition to PCI Express on AMD-based laptops. One aspect that remains to be seen is the price of retail boards, as this will of course influence the final buying decision.
The Radeon Xpress 200 shows that ATI is dedicated to its chipset business, even though it will take some more effort to truly compete with more established chipset manufacturers. However, it's great to see that ATI has brought the first integrated chipset with PCI Express for Athlon 64 to market.
|ATI Radeon Xpress 200G reference board|
|More info||The ATI Radeon Xpress 200 site|
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