Desktop integrated graphics shoot-out
The best IGPs from Intel, AMD and Nvidia slug it out
Review There was a time, not so long ago, when integrated graphics were so feeble they couldn’t pull the metaphorical skin off a rice pudding. Broadly speaking, the integrated graphics processor (IGP) was fit for little more than the two-dimensional Windows desktop, and a graphics card was necessary if you wanted to play games.
This separation between gamers and the general public worked remarkably well. The majority of PC users – the ones who don’t play games – could buy a cheap, quiet PC with a chipset from AMD, AlI/ULi, ATI, Intel, Nvidia, SiS or VIA without paying too much attention to the graphics, while gamers would buy a graphics card from ATI or Nvidia.
The chipset business went through a minor change when Nvidia bought AlI/ULI in December 2005 and a bigger change when AMD acquired ATI the following year.
Today, SiS has faded so far into the background that we weren’t even aware that it has a range of Core 2 chipsets. To the best of our knowledge, you can't buy an SiS motherboard in Western Europe. VIA has moved away from the desktop PC market to concentrate on its highly integrated Mini- and Nano-ITX motherboards.
That leaves AMD, Nvidia and Intel in the desktop chipset business, with AMD and Intel making chipsets for their own processors, and Nvidia sat in the middle catering for both makes of CPU.
Windows Vista was launched at the beginning of 2007, after a lengthy gestation period. The OS places significant demands on graphics hardware as the 3D Aero UI in the Premium and Ultimate versions requires a GPU that is compliant with DirectX's Shader Model 2.
SiS and other stuff...
If you're looking for a motherboard that uses an SiS chipset, the Intel D201GLY2/2A (with embedded 1.3GHz Celeron CPU) would be one choice. I got one and was really pretty impressed with what it could do, especially considering the limited processing power it has.
Integrated graphics are OK in my book, even if they don't perform all that well. It bothers me that the graphics options from nVidia and ATI either have huge heatsinks or cook themselves into an early grave. I've never lost an integrated graphics chipset...compared to a few ATI and nVidia boards that just got too hot.
I don't really care for speed, but I need to know which maximum resolution is supported? Can I, for example connect 2 30" LCDs onto an Intel board with 2 DVI connectors? Do know that I have to know which resolutions the chipset supports.
Please help this idiot (me)
Um... My brain is a little slow today... which these of motherboards would be best for building a cheapish, cool and QUIET media centre PC? Or would a Playstation 3 (at 250 GBP) be better for this task?
Cometh the AMD fanboyz....
Is it me or are the only whiners here the AMD fanboyz?
@! Desktop integrated graphics shoot-out
But of course, ATI & nVidia long for the day when they can give away the farm cheap instead of having quad display gamers buy a video card. Perish the thought of paying more for more features.
About the CPU, these boards really should've been fitted with the slowest CPUs that weren't completely castrated with less than 1MB L2 cache, otherwise it's a bit silly talking about power consumption and someone cheaping out on the video tends to do the same on the processor. Regardless, at least we had more than a small amount of assurance the processor (nevermind the memory bus??) itself wasn't a bottleneck for the video benchmarks.