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23 October 2009

AMD's 785G Chipset with IGP Radeon HD 4200 Graphics

AMD 785G Chipset

While not as sexy as writing GPU at the high end with hundreds of stream processors, a billion transistors or more, and the GDDR5 memory last Blazing fast integrated graphics solutions are what the power of the majority of PCs in use today. According to the latest figures from industry research firm Jon Peddie Research, Intel compared to controls by 50% of the market for graphics cards together in spite of the absence of a discrete graphics card of their own to sell public instead of by all the graphics has come from programming of integrated graphics chipsets.

Each month, Intel usually tens of millions of G45, G43, G41, GMA X4500 and GMA X3100 integrated graphics chipsets to customers around the world. The IGP (integrated graphics processors) are then sold at $ 300 and $ 400 desktops and laptops found from computer manufacturers like HP and Dell.

AMD wants the most from this action. Seeing the huge volumes of IGP Intel moves each month, who can blame them? When they bought ATI back in 2006, they cited the fusion of CPU and GPU as a key to the purchase, but in the short term, they also expressed the hope that ATI chipsets and the PGI would score new design wins with OEMs wary of buying processors from one source and PGI another (usually NVIDIA), and possibly help to take some share from Intel.

Unfortunately for AMD, despite a good range of products, things have not quite panned as originally planned.

Intel has actually been first to market with an IGP that supported DirectX 10 graphics. Their series of chipsets Bearlake G3X beat AMD to the punch by several months, scoring design wins AMD had hoped, despite the fact that DX10 offers first AMD 780G chipset, delivered the best 3D graphics performance than that of Intel G35.

780G chipset is remarkable for its time. Thank you to a die shrink, ATI was essentially able to integrate their existing RV620 GPU found in their Radeon 3450/3470 value and put it in the 780G chipset itself. ATI has had to strike the clock speeds up a bit to fit within their power / thermal balance, but otherwise, it is basically the same GPU.

Hybrid Graphics has been the factor that has really put on the map 780G though. Like ATI's CrossFire technology, Hybrid Graphics, you could pair a discrete graphics card Radeon 3450 integrated graphics with heart in the IGP to increase by nearly 2X performance in games. It was the first mutli-GPU technology has been found in an IGP of any manufacturer (NVIDIA followed with their own solutions later).

Now ATI and AMD are back with a successor to 780g. Internally known as 785G, the world outside AMD will market it as the Radeon HD 4200 and 785G chipset with Radeon HD 4200 graphics. The Radeon HD 4200 suggests that this classification is a new game based on a derivative RV7xx heart Radeon 4000, but this designation implies 785G chipset is improving gradually over the platform 780g. Which one is it? Let's find out!

785G Chipset Features

This is latest chipset ATI Radeon 3000 is a serial product, as the name implies 785G or is it part of the series Radeon 4000? It's a bit of both, but we would certainly call it an extension of the architecture 780G instead of a part RV7xx news.

Basically the graphics architecture of the heart itself is quite similar to the Radeon GPU found in graphics 780G 3200. You have the same 40 stream processors with 4 texture units and 4 ROPs as the 780G, the same ability to send up to 512 MB of system RAM, and the same clock speed of 500 MHz core.

This is probably a disappointment for those of you who expected a real successor next-generation architecture based RV7xx success of ATI. The Radeon HD 4350 to sport eg twice the stream processors - 80 - with eight texture units and 4 ROPs. With the 785G chipset based on the same manufacturing process 55 nm as 780G, ATI could not put a price affordable the 4350's 242 million transistors within their transistor budget for 785G.

As such, 785G Hybrid Graphics support is limited to the Radeon 3400 Series, like its predecessor, the 780G.

Hybrid Graphics will not be a selling point this time though. Found Radeon 3400 is increasingly difficult. Newegg for example, that three lists Radeon 3450 boards in stock right now, and two of them are more expensive than the Radeon 4350. Not that it would still matter, as a Radeon HD 4350 graphics card will run faster than the 780G + Radeon 3450 Graphics hybrid combination. Radeon 4350 cards start for only $ 3 more than the cheapest 3450 card on Newegg.

We ran with the banks of the 785G integrated graphics and discrete Radeon 4350 graphics card marks for this product so you can see how the two graphics solutions Fare against each other.

ATI has added some new ingredients to the 785G IGP that are not found in 780G though. For starters, the chip now fully supports DirectX 10.1, while the 780G is limited to supporting DirectX 10.0. DirectX 10.1 is a very gradual improvement over DirectX 10 though, and considering that the income-generating projects are not graphics processing power to run DX10 titles anyway it is probably more a function of Control for OEM brand than anything else.

More notable additions ATI integrated chipset 785G HDMI 1.3 Support (780G was limited to HDMI 1.2) and RV7xx features like support for hardware video transcoding on the GPU rather than CPU Stream uses ATI and ATI Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD 2), these two features were introduced with the 4000 series GPU Radeon last year. 785G can also multi-channel LPCM audio output over HDMI as well.

AMD has confirmed that the multi-channel LPCM audio over HDMI is not supported by 785G, 780G, 785G chipset, as is limited to 2 channels only.

If you remember, UVD 2 includes support for hardware accelerated image in the image to watch Blu-ray and video enhancement features such as dynamic contrast, HD Color Enhancer (including flesh and the brilliance of tone colors) and post-processing effects such as noise reduction, deinterlacing and HD with the HD, which is only supported when dynamic contrast is turned off.

So essentially with 785G could say that the merger with ATI's graphics power of RV620 with the video capabilities of the RV730. This description is not entirely true, but it gives you a quick overview of the performance of the IGP differs from previous issues ATI. The Southern Bridge again unchanged, with series SB7xx AMD chips supported. This is the same chip already used on current platforms 7-series.

15 October 2009

PC Buyer’s Guide - Intel Entry level for Gaming $500

Our entry level PC is designed for the gamer on a tight budget. This system will play most modern games on high settings with 2xAA/8xAF and some at up to 4xAA/16xAF.

Intel Entry-level Gaming PC
ASUS EAH4850/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850
Intel Pentium E6300
Gigabyte GA-EP43-UD3L
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2-800
Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB
Optical Drive:
Samsung 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA
Power Supply:
hec Orion XPOWER585 585W
CPU Cooler:
Masscool 8WA741
Grand Total:
Prices Sourced from Newegg

We’re sticking with the Radeon 4850 for our Intel budget setup for all the reasons outlined on the previous page. Intel CPUs are a little pricier than AMD’s though, so we had to step down from a Core 2 Duo processor to Intel’s Pentium E6300 CPU.

The E6300 is based on Intel’s dual-core 45-nm Wolfdale core and runs at 2.8GHz with 2MB of L3 cache and 1066MHz FSB. Like all Core 2 processors, the chip OCs like mad, but as we observed in our recent Phenom II/Athlon II article, performance takes a hit in comparison to the Core 2 Duo E7000 series due to the small L2 cache.

While we linked to the fully boxed Intel processor with heatsink/fan, the stock cooler Intel provides is junk. Throw it away and replace it with a nice cooler like the unit we mentioned from Masscool. Your processor will thank you.

For the motherboard we opted for Gigabyte’s GA-EP43-UD3L. We actually debated between this board and ASUS’ P5QL, but opted for the Gigabyte board due to its larger North Bridge cooling and Ultra Durable 3 features. The ASUS board is priced identically with somewhat similar features, so this was a close decision. The power supply is a tough call. We decided to highlight a different PSU than the Cooler Master used in the AMD build, honestly we trust the Cooler Master brand more, but if you’re willing to try an unknown brand, the hec PSU would be an interesting choice. Based on the user reviews, it’s biggest issue seems to be units that arrive DOA. Here we should also mention that name brand companies like OCZ offer 600W and 700W PSUs that sell for $50 after mail-in rebate. Honestly this is the route we would go if it were our money, but we also needed to stick to our $500 budget as closely as possible and we aren’t factoring mail-in rebates as some users just don’t like them.


Besides the aforementioned alternatives on the motherboard and power supply, if you’re willing to splurge the Core 2 Duo E7400 delivers better performance than the Pentium E6300, only it will set you back about $120.