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Intel confirms chipset graphics update

The GMA 950 core surfaces

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IDF Spring 05 Intel's upcoming 945G chipset will sport an updated graphics core, the Graphics Media Accelerator 950, the chip giant let slip today.

Presenting 'Anchor Creek', Intel's upcoming home PC platform, Don MacDonald, VP and General Manager of the company's Digital Home Group, revealed that the bundle's chipset would feature the enhanced graphics engine.

It's the first time - we think - Intel has mentioned the GMA 950 by name. It's predecessor, the GMA 900, debuted in June 2004 with Intel's 915 chipset, aka 'Grantsdale', and turned up earlier this year in 'Alviso', the company's second-generation Centrino chipset.

In turn, GMA 900 succeeded the previous generation of Intel integrated graphics core, Extreme Graphics, a name Intel canned in April 2004.

Separately, Intel's Mobility Group chief, Sean Maloney, said the next-generation Centrino chipset, 'Callistoga', would sport an "exciting" next-gen graphics core. Given the relative launch dates of Grantsdale and Alviso, and the similar gap between the 945G debut and the arrival of Callistoga, it's a good bet that the core that's causing Maloney such excitement is the GMA 950.

Yesterday, Maloney told The Register that Centrino buyers, even corporate ones, continue to demand ever-better graphics performance. It's a key purchase criterion, he said. Indeed, a major part of the next Centrino release's focus is on boosting multimedia performance.

GMA 900 was unusual in support DirectX 9.0's Shader Model 2.0 only as far as pixel shaders - all geometry programming was offloaded onto the host CPU. At this stage, it's not clear whether GMA 950 contains its own vertex shader pipelines - or, indeed, what other features and enhancements it adds. ®

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