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First Look: AMD's 690 series chipset

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Bindibadgi 2nd March 2007, 15:03 Quote
Interestingly, I've just taken off the heatsink from the Asus board and the RS690 northbridge is labelled slightly differently!

http://www.bit-tech.net/content_images/amd_690g_chipset/rs690g-nb.jpg
Omnituens 2nd March 2007, 16:04 Quote
also, why in the FPS test does it say "time in seconds - lower equals better"?
Lazlow 2nd March 2007, 16:11 Quote
Does this mean AMD/ATI are going to end up dominating the mobile market? At least they're now concentrating on it and producing some decent kit.
hughwi 2nd March 2007, 16:16 Quote
"but it was delayed because of *dalays" *delays
"Join us as * delve down inside" *we?
"Radeon X1250 it isn’t *an derived" *-an?

Thats just me being picky though :D the review is really informative and this chipset looks like it could be a major bonus for use in multimedia rig :D
Tim S 2nd March 2007, 16:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnituens
also, why in the FPS test does it say "time in seconds - lower equals better"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughwi
"but it was delayed because of *dalays" *delays
"Join us as * delve down inside" *we?
"Radeon X1250 it isn’t *an derived" *-an?
Thanks, fixed - drop me a PM if there's anything else. :o
randosome 2nd March 2007, 18:23 Quote
i was wondering if anyone could tell me what that glue like stuff around the edge is (maybe even glue ;)) and what its for, always wondered about
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Although for DMA access everything still has to go through the CPU because of the on-board memory controller. Obviously, this is different on Intel boards that can access memory directly from the northbridge - it's horses for courses as to which is the better solution, though.
Wow thanks for that info, that's quite interesting, i would have guessed that the north bridge also connected to the memory
But either way, only 1 thing can be read from memory at a time, so whether its the NB reading it or the CPU - i guess it doesn't make a huge difference, plus the CPU really needs the memory access more
trig 2nd March 2007, 18:57 Quote
am i mistakin, or is the msi board the one with four memory slots and asus only has 2?
Tim S 2nd March 2007, 19:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by trig
am i mistakin, or is the msi board the one with four memory slots and asus only has 2?
Nope, the board with the Asus logo on it appears to have four memory slots: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/03/02/amd_690g_chipset/2.html
traderonline 2nd March 2007, 19:21 Quote
ati x1250 is a modified version of x700 series :D
we cant expect top scores in benchmarks. anyway this will perform far better than the nvidia 6100 onboard GPU solution :)
Bindibadgi 2nd March 2007, 19:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by randosome
i was wondering if anyone could tell me what that glue like stuff around the edge is (maybe even glue ;)) and what its for, always wondered about

It's just a bonding material used to seal the edges of the die to the packaging.

My fault on the graphs too! :o
Renoir 3rd March 2007, 03:38 Quote
First nice review! I particularly liked seeing what you lose in non-graphics performance by sharing 256MB ram with the IGP. About 0-6% by my calculations which is pleasantly lower than I was expecting.
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Built in TDMS for dual link DVI / HDMI v1.3 with HDCP compatibility
I've read elsewhere that the display controllers are single link only?
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versus the RS690's 64-bit DDR2 link through the CPU's memory controller
I don't understand this. Could you explain why RS690 doesn't get to use both of the memory channels in the memory controller (128bit).

Rumour has it Intel are working on a new driver for the G965 which should result in a large improvement in the current compatibility and performance issues. Could you confirm this?
Nature 3rd March 2007, 09:09 Quote
Are these boards Micro atx? Socket AM2?
Bindibadgi 3rd March 2007, 09:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renoir
First nice review! I particularly liked seeing what you lose in non-graphics performance by sharing 256MB ram with the IGP. About 0-6% by my calculations which is pleasantly lower than I was expecting.

I've read elsewhere that the display controllers are single link only?

I don't understand this. Could you explain why RS690 doesn't get to use both of the memory channels in the memory controller (128bit).

Rumour has it Intel are working on a new driver for the G965 which should result in a large improvement in the current compatibility and performance issues. Could you confirm this?

Tim was using the 30" Dell at the time, but I will test if it's dual link. I'm pretty certain it IS dual link since it has all the necessary pins for Dual Link DVI-D.

I've ammended the article. For some reason my memory told me that DDR is 32bit to match CPUs (hence you used to only need one, unlike SIMMs), so dual channel was 64bit.

No idea if Intel is working on a new driver, but even if they are the hardware to do the work isn't there. Even if they manage to get it DX9 compatible it'll still be completely unplayable.
Fusen 4th March 2007, 16:00 Quote
you say it will play pitifully in 640x480 yet you mention the detail settings are the same as other benchmarks you make and if lowered the frame rates would be higher.

When you say the benchmarks for other hardware are you talking about the top end GFX cards that you look at? e.g. 8800

If so, why would anyone play with high details but a resolution of 640x480 when they could bump it up to a playable 1024x768 and just lower the unneeded detail.

It's not as if anyone would buy this board and then try and play all the latest games on a 30" LCD, they'd be looking to play the common games like cs:source as a playable fps which would ignore most shiny details.
JoeFresco 4th March 2007, 16:03 Quote
I don't think the GMA X3000 in the i965 got a fair shake at all. Please spend some more time with the drivers to get it running the games you benchmarked. Xbit Labs were able to get reasonable frame rates out of the X3000 in Quake 4 and Half Life 2.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/ig965-gf6150_12.html

At the moment, yours is the only comparison of the sort, and I'm very interested in the results of these tests.
Renoir 5th March 2007, 00:12 Quote
The review by Anandtech says the 690G supports 2 independent display controllers with both being digital and HDCP compliant. However they mention that HDCP only works for one of the digital connections at a time. Given this info I will paste the same questions I asked there but haven't had a reply to namely:

1) How do they accomplish having HDCP support for both dvi and hdmi given that they're on independent display controllers? My understanding was that seperate crypto ROMs were required for each controller/output. Simple answer would be that they indeed have 2 sets of keys but I assume this isn't the case given that they only let you use HDCP on one digital output at a time. So how does that all work?

2) How is vga implemented in the display controllers? 1=HDMI 2=DVI-I(hence dvi or vga) or some other configuration?

3) In a related point (upcoming mobile version of chipset) What connection do laptops use internally for their screens? I've asked this question on a few other sites but never got an answer. Surely someone must know? The reason I ask is I'm interested in getting a laptop in future which supports hdcp for both the laptop screen AND via an external digital connection to a larger display.

Sorry for being long winded but would really appreciate any info you can give.
Bindibadgi 5th March 2007, 09:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFresco
I don't think the GMA X3000 in the i965 got a fair shake at all. Please spend some more time with the drivers to get it running the games you benchmarked. Xbit Labs were able to get reasonable frame rates out of the X3000 in Quake 4 and Half Life 2.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/ig965-gf6150_12.html

At the moment, yours is the only comparison of the sort, and I'm very interested in the results of these tests.

I will go back to it for the next 690G review, but everytime I tried a DX9 game it threw up a DX error. Our tests were run on maximum quality to provide a direct comparison with other reviews, just the resolution has changed, although in the next one we will lower all the settings as well.

The CryptoROMs are specific to each video output afaik, but every board I've seen bar the Asus has only one digital output so it's not mattered. Asus use a PCI-Express card for HDMI and HDTV out, which wasn't included in our initial package since it's a pre-production jobbie and we just literally got the board (no drivers even, and AMD doesn't have any on their site either ).

Don't understand question 2?! :( DVI and HDMI use internal TDMS, which are then disabled in the value model. You can change outputs in the ATI display driver.

Laptop: no idea, depends on the specific LCD controller used in the laptop. Not many people take apart review samples they get because it usually means irreversibly breaking the unit.
Unless your laptop has blu-ray, is HDCP needed?
Renoir 5th March 2007, 14:35 Quote
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The CryptoROMs are specific to each video output afaik, but every board I've seen bar the Asus has only one digital output so it's not mattered. Asus use a PCI-Express card for HDMI and HDTV out, which wasn't included in our initial package since it's a pre-production jobbie and we just literally got the board (no drivers even, and AMD doesn't have any on their site either ).
Yeah confusion definitely results from the fact that what a chipset supports and what the mobo maker implements isn't always the same. If the crypto roms are specific to each digital output (which I also thought was the case) then why is HDCP only supported via one output at a time? If the cryptoroms are part of the chipset (and hence there are 2 sets) then I see no reason for limiting their use to one digital output at a time unless it's an issue of drivers.
Quote:
Don't understand question 2?! DVI and HDMI use internal TDMS, which are then disabled in the value model. You can change outputs in the ATI display driver.
Sorry for not being clear. Only interested in 690G. There are 2 display controllers. What does each support? E.g. Controller 1=HDMI 2=Dvi & VGA (hence DVI-I) and it's up to the mobo maker which of these outputs they support or some other configuration. The promo stuff for the chipset says it supports 2 independent digital outputs and vga but doesn't say how exactly these outputs are arranged within the chipset.
Quote:
Laptop: no idea, depends on the specific LCD controller used in the laptop. Not many people take apart review samples they get because it usually means irreversibly breaking the unit.
Unless your laptop has blu-ray, is HDCP needed?
Yeah as mentioned no one's been able to answer that question :? The reason I'm interested is because I'm wandering what my next laptop requires in order to play hi def dvd's should I choose to replace the optical drive it'll come with with a hidef one once the prices come down. I plan to buy a new laptop later this year so won't be able to afford one that comes with a hidef drive and so would need to buy one seperately further down the line. Essentially I want laptop that's ready in every way for next gen dvd's but without initially coming with the necessary optical drive. Hope that makes sense ;)
Tim S 5th March 2007, 14:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renoir
Sorry for not being clear. Only interested in 690G. There are 2 display controllers. What does each support? E.g. Controller 1=HDMI 2=Dvi & VGA (hence DVI-I) and it's up to the mobo maker which of these outputs they support or some other configuration. The promo stuff for the chipset says it supports 2 independent digital outputs and vga but doesn't say how exactly these outputs are arranged within the chipset.
Judging from what's on the back of each of the boards, I think it's one digital and one analogue. The analogue is obviously VGA, while the digital can be either HDMI or DVI.
Bindibadgi 5th March 2007, 15:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renoir
Yeah confusion definitely results from the fact that what a chipset supports and what the mobo maker implements isn't always the same. If the crypto roms are specific to each digital output (which I also thought was the case) then why is HDCP only supported via one output at a time? If the cryptoroms are part of the chipset (and hence there are 2 sets) then I see no reason for limiting their use to one digital output at a time unless it's an issue of drivers.

We've looked on the board but there's no external chip on either the Asus or MSI board we've got. Considering how long its take and it's A13 (?) rev silicon it should be inbuilt, however, an educated guess is that when licensing HDMI they also have to license HDCP at a cost of per implementation. So two = twice as much, adding an extra dollar to the price of the chipset and two dollars at least to the price of the end product since each individual company using has to have a separate license.
Quote:

Sorry for not being clear. Only interested in 690G. There are 2 display controllers. What does each support? E.g. Controller 1=HDMI 2=Dvi & VGA (hence DVI-I) and it's up to the mobo maker which of these outputs they support or some other configuration. The promo stuff for the chipset says it supports 2 independent digital outputs and vga but doesn't say how exactly these outputs are arranged within the chipset.
Two independent outputs, not necessarily digital. The only board ive seen with two digital outputs is the Asus and I dont know if they can be used together or are both HDCP compliant. It's something I will now be asking AMD in the coming week.
EDIT: Thinking about it, only one HDCP chip was included on the 7900-series that went out of their way to support it, despite all of them sporting two DVI ports.
Quote:

Yeah as mentioned no one's been able to answer that question :? The reason I'm interested is because I'm wandering what my next laptop requires in order to play hi def dvd's should I choose to replace the optical drive it'll come with with a hidef one once the prices come down. I plan to buy a new laptop later this year so won't be able to afford one that comes with a hidef drive and so would need to buy one seperately further down the line. Essentially I want laptop that's ready in every way for next gen dvd's but without initially coming with the necessary optical drive. Hope that makes sense ;)

If you dont buy a lappy with HDDVD/BRDVD built in, I'd guess that it's 99% likely it wont have HDCP unless you buy something that's G8x/R6x0 series derivative which has it natively. It's an expense ODMs wont bother including since 0.001% of laptop owners will replace their DVD drives for HD ones without replacing their whole laptops.
JoeFresco 5th March 2007, 15:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
I will go back to it for the next 690G review, but everytime I tried a DX9 game it threw up a DX error. Our tests were run on maximum quality to provide a direct comparison with other reviews, just the resolution has changed, although in the next one we will lower all the settings as well.

Well, for the next review, please don't just post 100% useless graphs for a technology. Find a way to at least give one or two decent comparisons so that some judgment can be made. At the moment, there is no reasonable judgment I can make regarding which graphics chipset is better between the R6xx and the X3000, and how much better that chipset might be. This is the disappointment of the current review.
Bindibadgi 5th March 2007, 15:26 Quote
Well this a first look as opposed to a review, and we only had the board two days before the article was lived. The main underlying part of the article is a showcase for what you can expect on the technology in future products. :)

Well I can tell you for a start the R6xx will be faster than the X3000, since the R6-series is a discrete graphics processor series. ;) Although you can make comparisons to all our other motherboard reviews that don't use integrated graphics directly. The 2D graphs were there to dictate the difference between using IGP and external graphics, and as you can see there's a clear difference. Why you'd want to run quake or whatever on an IGP is beyond me. NVIDIA has promised us some 6150 boards for comparison and the idea as it stands is that we will concentrate on HTPC testing, rather than gaming performance anyway.
Renoir 5th March 2007, 16:16 Quote
Quote:
We've looked on the board but there's no external chip on either the Asus or MSI board we've got. Considering how long its take and it's A13 (?) rev silicon it should be inbuilt, however, an educated guess is that when licensing HDMI they also have to license HDCP at a cost of per implementation. So two = twice as much, adding an extra dollar to the price of the chipset and two dollars at least to the price of the end product since each individual company using has to have a separate license.
I think the key here is my Source which says and I quote:

"The GPU supports two independent display outputs, and both DVI and HDMI outputs can be used at the same time. The only caveat is that HDCP will only work over one digital output at a time. This isn't a huge issue, as most people won't be watching two different protected movies at the same time on a single computer. Also, in spite of the single display limitation, HDCP can be used over either HDMI or DVI. This gives the X1250 an advantage over graphics cards that initially supported HDCP. Many cards only allowed HDCP over one HDMI or DVI port while the other was always unprotected only."

So HDCP over either digital output but not at the same time. If they have 2 cryptoroms built in, one for each digital output then why limit use of hdcp to one output at a time? At first glance you'd say Duh there's one cryptorom that gets "routed" to which ever digital output you choose for protected content but how would that work given the digital outputs are on seperate display controllers and cryptoroms are supposedly licensed per controller?
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Two independent outputs, not necessarily digital. The only board ive seen with two digital outputs is the Asus and I dont know if they can be used together or are both HDCP compliant. It's something I will now be asking AMD in the coming week.
EDIT: Thinking about it, only one HDCP chip was included on the 7900-series that went out of their way to support it, despite all of them sporting two DVI ports.
This is all related to that quote I gave above so if you could confirm/ask for explanation from AMD that'd be great.
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If you dont buy a lappy with HDDVD/BRDVD built in, I'd guess that it's 99% likely it wont have HDCP unless you buy something that's G8x/R6x0 series derivative which has it natively. It's an expense ODMs wont bother including since 0.001% of laptop owners will replace their DVD drives for HD ones without replacing their whole laptops.
Interesting. But if the 690 mobile version has HDCP built in then why not use it? Unless they (ODM) as you mentioned have to pay extra over and above the cost of the chipset to licence HDCP? Well that's certainly an interesting topic but what if the internal connection is analog (hence my question of what interface laptops use) in which case as long as studios continue to not implement the Image Constraint Token on discs I wouldn't need HDCP support. I hope I'm starting to make sense in terms of how I'm looking at the situation and why I'm asking what I'm asking. Besides Rich I like to keep you busy :)
Renoir 5th March 2007, 16:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
Judging from what's on the back of each of the boards, I think it's one digital and one analogue. The analogue is obviously VGA, while the digital can be either HDMI or DVI.
That seems to disagree with the quote from Anandtech I posted above which says that the chipset supports 2 independent digital outputs. Mobo makers are obviously free to not implement both digital outputs but I'm interested in what the chipset supports in total and therefore what's available to mobo makers should they choose to implement them.
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