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ATI Radeon 9100 IGP 'RS300' Chipset Preview

ATI Radeon 9100 IGP 'RS300' Chipset Preview  - PCSTATS
Abstract: While its first generation was somewhat uninspiring, the new 'RS300' Radeon 9100 IGP promises to offer something more - at least to prospective Pentium 4 owners.
Filed under: Chipset Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ATI Aug 27 2003   Chris Angelini  
Home > Reviews > Chipset > ATI 9100 IGP

The RADEON 9100 IGP

The newest edition to ATI's Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) family, the 9100 IGP is wholly modern, manufactured on TSMC's 0.15-micron process. In addition to supporting Pentium 4 processors on 400, 533 and 800MHz front side buses, it also recognizes Hyper-Threading.

Like NVIDIA's nForce2 chipset for the Athlon XP, the RADEON 9100 IGP utilizes a 128-bit DDR memory bus split between two 64-bit channels. Its memory bus is capable of delivering up to 6.4GB per second of throughput using DDR400 modules, of which only two can be installed. In order to realize the platform's 4GB memory ceiling, you'll have to employ more conservative settings.

The integrated graphics core is similar to ATI's RADEON 9200 discrete card. But because the IGP must conform to certain size and thermal restrictions, ATI has stripped it down to a degree. The 9100 IGP features two pixel pipelines instead of four. Further, the hardware-based transform and lighting engine has been extracted from the core in favor of a software algorithm that offloads vertex calculations to the host processor. ATI claim that there is a minimal performance penalty, and considering the power of modern Pentium 4 processors, there are more than enough computational resources to handle the job, at least at 3.06GHz.

The pre-production reference motherboard showcased by ATI hosts an IGP running at 300MHz - more than enough to trounce Intel's own Extreme Graphics 2 solution. However, according to company representatives, the core should be good up to about 350MHz, depending on how far manufacturers are willing to go in terms of cooling it.

And even if 3D performance isn't the RADEON 9100 IGP's most defining attribute, support for a third display will surely turn heads (remember Matrox?). Briefly, you can plug a discrete card into the platform's AGP 8x slot, enabling the first two outputs. A third display can then be attached to the 9100 IGP's integrated VGA connector for Parhelia-like operation in 2D and 3D modes.

The 9100 IGP also looks to be a capable video decoder. ATI has outfitted it with a 4-tap horizontal and vertical filter, hardware motion compensation, iDCT, and sub-picture decoding, intended primarily for DVD playback. The 128-bit 2D engine sports a hardware cursor, along with support for a Windows XP alpha cursor. Finally, the RADEON 9100 IGP has an integrated TV encoder with a 10-bit DAC for outputting to a television at up to 1024x768. The chip supports up to 16X AF (Anisotropic Filtering) and 4X FSAA (Full Scene Anti-Aliasing).

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Contents of Article: ATI 9100 IGP
 Pg 1.  ATI Radeon 9100 IGP 'RS300' Chipset Preview
 Pg 2.  — The RADEON 9100 IGP
 Pg 3.  The IXP250 Southbridge
 Pg 4.  System Spec's and Benchmarks
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: PCMark2002, 3DMark2001
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: 3DMark03, UT2003
 Pg 7.  In Retrospect

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