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AMD 780G integrated DirectX10.1 chipset

Leaves Nvidia and Intel standing?

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Review AMD’s 700-series chipsets covers all the motherboard options that a gamer could require for the quad-core Phenom processor. There’s the 790FX with support for CrossFireX to handle three or four graphics cards, the 790X that does CrossFire with two cards, and the 770 that combines Phenom with a single PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 slot.

And now for those members of the buying public who don’t play games all the time there’s the new 780G. The G suffix indicates that this chipset includes an integrated graphics core, though it has a PCIe 2.0 slot too.

AMD 780G chipset

AMD's 780G: integrated graphics to beat Intel and Nvidia?

The 780G's integrated GPU is called the Radeon HD 3200. There's a cut-down version of the 780G called the 780V that has a Radeon HD 3100 IGP. The 3200 runs faster than the 3100 but its main advantage is that it supports Hybrid Graphics. In the past, when you plugged a graphics card into a motherboard with integrated graphics, the IGP was disabled. With Hybrid graphics, the IGP works co-operatively with the graphics card, CrossFire-style.

Clearly, it makes little sense to ‘assist’ an HD 3850 or 3870 with the integrated HD 3200 but when you use a £29 Radeon HD 3450 graphics card the effect can be seen quite clearly. An HD 3450 runs its 40 unified shaders at 600MHz, while the 256MB of local memory has an effective speed of 1000MHz. That's similar to the 780G's spec except that the clock speeds are faster and the memory is on board.

AMD 780G chipset

GPU + IGP = Hybrid Graphics

Run 3DMark06 on the 780G IGP and you’ll get a score of 1100 which rises to 1500 marks on the HD 3450. That’s with AMD Catalyst 8.2 driver package, which disables the IGP when you use an add-in graphics card. The latest version of the software, Catalyst 8.3, allows you to run the two graphics chips together in CrossFire or, if you prefer, you might use the two chips to control as many as four displays.

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