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Intel's 'Broadwater' GPU to support Shader Model 4.0

Vertex shading to be done in hardware at last

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More details have emerged about the graphics core - the latest in the GMA series - Intel intends to integrate into members of its upcoming 965 'Broadwater' chipset family. A presentation slide said to have come from the chip giant shows the part will support not only Shader Model 3.0, but also version 4.0.

The leaked slide comes via Chinese-language site HKEPC. The G965 chipset's integrated GPU will support DirectX 10 via the Windows Graphics Foundation (WGF) 2.0 API. It will also work with OpenGL 2.0. The hardware-accelerated vertex shader capabilities missing from the current GMA950 graphics core and its predecessors will at long last be built into the G965's GPU. It will also do 180° screen rotation support in hardware.

The GPU will be able to grab up to 256MB of main memory as its frame buffer - double the limit of the current GMA 950 core. It will support 16x anisotropic filtering, up from 4x with the GMA950, and raise the current floating-point precision level from 24 bits to 32.

The G965 will be able to do more video post-processing work than its predecessor can, and while it will enable decoding of H.264 and WMV9/VC-1 HD video, it will still require help from the host processor.

Other tweaks, the slide reveals, include the latest version of Intel's display power-saving technology, improved Z buffer testing, and the addition of occlusion filtering to speed 3D scene rendering.

The G965 is expected to ship in time to support the introduction of Intel's first next-generation architecture CPU, 'Conroe', in Q3. ®

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