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ATI unveils HDCP-native chipset for Intel CPUs

RS600 debuts as Radeon Xpress 1250

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ATI last night rolled out its latest chipset for Intel processors, pitching the part at both desktop and notebook systems. The launch marks the arrival of the chip maker's RS600 North Bridge and features not only its Avivo video processing pipeline but full HDMI and HDCP support.

The announcement of the Radeon Xpress 1250 series focused on its role in notebooks, but it's clear from ATI's words the integrated chipset will support desktop CPUs too. It supports up to 16GB of DDR 2 SDRAM clocked at up to 800MHz.

While the North Bridge has its own, Radeon X700-class GPU, the chip can host a x16 PCI Express slot for an external graphics card. Between 16MB and 512MB of system memory is used by the integrated GPU for video memory.

ATI confirmed the 1250 can host an HDMI 1.2 port and has HDCP 1.1 on board too, to ensure protected HD content is played at full resolution. HDMI support requires notebook motherboard makers to add a TDMS (Transition Minimised Differential Signaling) chip, just as they would if they were to incorporate a DVI port. The part will support dual independent displays.

The chipset accelerates WMV 9, H.264 and MPEG 2 hardware decode acceleration, and there's a built-in TV-out encoder based on ATI's Xilleon chips.

The Radeon Xpress 1250 incorporates ATI's SB600 South Bridge chip, which supports up to ten USB ports, four 3Gbps SATA drives in a variety of RAID configurations, two parallel ATA devices, and up to six x1 PCI Express slots. ®

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