Details of Intel’s G45 integrated graphics chipset have leaked out onto the web even before Intel’s current premium IGP is widely available.
The G45 and G43 chipsets are due out in the second quarter of 2008 and will replace the G35 and G33 IGPs that are currently shipping to customers. The two are very similar, built on a 65nm process and have an updated GMA4500 graphics core that is slated to offer three times the performance of the current G33. This is great news for Apple fans as this will mean World of Warcraft
on future Macbooks might finally run at native resolution.
It also supports DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4, which will quickly bring Intel into line with the other major graphics players, although since it still has to use main memory instead of a local frame buffer, the support for anything remotely intensive is kind of moot. The chipset will be the first from Intel to support DisplayPort
, and will also have built in HDCP support over HDMI and DVI connections.
The biggie is that G45 will offload High Definition content processing for MPEG2, VC1 and H.264 from the CPU, however the G43 will not. The other difference is that the G43 will only address only two DIMM slots, or a single DIMM per channel and a maximum of 4GB, whereas the G45 will allow for four slots or two DIMMs per channel and a maximum of 8GB. There is no indication yet whether these chipsets are DDR2/3 or DDR3 only, but we would hope it is the former.
The most recent G35 chipset with Intel Clear Video is said to achieve a perfect score in HD-HQV testing, an internationally recognised standard for testing video playback, so we expect the 4-series to at least follow on in this trend. The G43 is said to replace the G35, G33, G31 and even P35 in the value mainstream segment, although there will still be a P45 chipset to directly replace the brilliant P35 chipset, in the same quarter.
Since AMD’s replacement for the 690G should arrive in February, it should continue to be a competitive market providing lots of choice for the consumer and make High-Definition capable HTPCs ever more attractive, especially since PC Blu-ray drives are already just £100
Sadly, we just realised that this might also be Intel's final discrete IGP that it makes - future IGPs will be integrated into the CPU with Nehalem and built on a 45nm process in 2009, further reducing power consumption.
Excited about new chipsets or are HTPCs dead and IGP products still far too slow? Let us know your thoughts in the forums