early to make a call on
the RADEON 9100. There aren't any systems sporting the chipset which have been
released yet; and according to ATI, the chipset hasn't even been finalized. The
situation is certainly a promising one, though. ATI has an undeniable leg up on Intel's
865G chipset in the 3D performance corner, and with a little more optimization the
RADEON 9100 IGP could just be able to take the crown in office productivity too.
chipset were to have one notable flaw, it would be the IXP 250 southbridge. Without native
support for Serial ATA, motherboard manufacturers are footing the bill to integrate a
third-party controller, invariably influencing costs to consumers. Incorporating support within
the 9100 IGP for third-party southbridges is a helpful
solution, but connecting through the PCI bus is certainly a limitation any way
you look at it. Realistically, an up-to-date version of the IXP can't come soon
But even with
the shortcomings of the IXP 250, ATI has a product that will satisfy mainstream
users - the kind of consumer that would be interested in an 865G machine,
regardless of 3D performance, as long as it's at a reasonable price. Only now,
they'll be able to play most games at a comfortable
resolution of 1024x768.
ATI have also
expressed interest in diversifying beyond the Pentium 4 market
from what I've been told. It already has a chipset for the Athlon XP,
and there are plans for an Athlon 64 core logic - an easier job considering
AMD has integrated a memory controller right into the processor itself.
Could it be that ATI's solution will take advantage of the updated IXP? Only
time will tell.
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