|Intel 945G Express Chipset Feature
||LGA775 Pentium D|
|Front Side Bus
|Intel Flex Memory
|Dual Channel Memory
||GMA 950 |
||PCI Express x16
||PCI Express x1
|Intel Matrix Storage
||0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R)|
||Hard Drive NCQ
|USB 2.0 Ports
||High Definition Audio
Intel 945G Express and ICH7 Chipsets
The Intel 945G chipset is Intel's mainstream performance
chipset and it supports every Socket 775 processor on the market from the Intel
Pentium 4/D/XE, and Celeron D. In this
instance the 945G is paired with the venerable Intel ICH7 Southbridge, rather
than the updated ICH8 core logic. Given the intended markets the MSI Mega mPC
945 system is suitable towards, RAID 1 would have been a really nice feature if there
was space for an additional SATA drive.
Intel has kept DDR2 memory
support steady at 667/533MHz with the 945G chipset, putting it at a slight
disadvantage to AMD's Socket AM2 Athlon64 processors. Intel calls the new memory
controller FMA or 'Fast Memory Access' and it gives the system a maximum
theoretical bandwidth of 10.6GB/s with DDR2-667 memory.
Like many mainstream chipsets before it, the Intel 945G
incorporates integrated graphics - this time Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator
950. The Intel GMA950 is compatible with both Microsoft WindowsXP and Windows
Vista operating systems, and is based on a 400MHz 256-bit graphics core which
has up to 10.6GB/s bandwidth. The GMA950 can process 1.6GPixels/s and
1.6GTexels/s while supporting resolutions as high as 2048x1536 at 75Hz. Gaming
and 3D performance is adequate at best, and not really comparable to what you
would see from a full fledged PCI Express x16 graphics card.
Yet at least the Intel GMA950 is DirectX9 / OpenGL1.4
compatible. It's Dynamic Video Memory Technology 3.0 (DVMT) steals up to 224MB
of system memory for the GMA950's use. More importantly, Intel has built in High
Definition content support up through to 1080i/p resolutions, and native 16:9
aspect ratio. HDTV playback is supported via a HD content decoder, 5x3 overlay,
and hi-bitrate MPEG2 among other points. In other words, this integrated
videocard is built to playback High Definition content without any fuss over
your computers' analog or digital display.
The Intel 945G is a mainstream chipset, and thus only
supports a single PCI Express x16 graphics card. The ICH7 southbridge includes
an additional four PCI Express lanes which are typically divvied up between PCI
Express x1 slots and Gigabit network adaptors. A dedicated 2GB/s I/O bus
connects the Intel 945G Northbridge and ICH7 Southbridge together, which might
be a little tight if you have many high bandwidth devices installed but should
be just fine for the average user.
The MSI Mega mPC 945 system relies on the ICH7
Southbridge, which in this particular application includes just one 3GB/s Serial
ATA channel, a 7.1-channel Intel Azalia High Definition audio codec, eight USB
2.0 ports (split between the rear I/O, front panel and header), 4 PCI Express x1
lanes and six PCI bus masters. The mPC 945 doesn't take advantage of all these
Intel has curtailed ICH7 support to a single IDE channel
(supporting two IDE devices) which is really only good for optical drives.
Next up, will the MSI Mega mPC 945 overclock?