Intel has formally introduced its 4-series chipsets at Computex, after months of talk about what will be Intel’s last FSB-based chipset.
The series consists of the P45, G45, P43 and G43 Express chipsets and Intel says that, together, they will help to turn the PC into “a centre of high-end entertainment and communications.
G45, which features the GMA X4500HD graphics processor, is the first Intel IGP to feature hardware-accelerated decoding capabilities for Blu-ray and HD video playback in h.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 formats. Because of this new feature, Intel is now able to use the graphics engine to perform post processing on the content to improve the visuals.
Several of Intel’s partners have been showing G45’s video decoding capabilities off – something that we talked about following our brief trip to Taipei in April. It looks as if the rumours have turned out to be true, as the demos were slick and the video quality looked to be high. Obviously though, we’ll have to reserve our final judgement until after we’ve run the boards through our own tests in our labs, but things are looking promising.
3D graphics performance is said to be improved by a factor of two to three times G35, but since G35 was inadequate for gaming, we’re not expecting a great deal on this front with G45.
We’ve already reviewed our first P45-based motherboard and discussed all of the features of the chipset. And based on what we’ve talked about in meetings with Intel and its partners, there’s nothing new to say on that front – it still features PCI-Express 2.0 support with the option of splitting the single x16 lane into two x8 lanes for dual graphics and Extreme Tuning Utility support is also there, although we’re still yet to see that software on a machine that wasn’t preconfigured by Intel.
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