Abstract: To complement the High Definition decoding of the G45 Express, the P5Q-EM offers up HDMI, DVI and VGA video outputs, allowing you to output HD video right to a home theatre display without any additional expense.|
Intel G45 Express Chipset
The Intel G45 Express Chipset is a combination of
Intel's popular P45 Express chipset paired with its Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD integrated graphics
processor, and unlike some Intel's earlier integrated chipset designs,
compromises very little to accommodate its on-board graphics.
The GMA X4500HD graphics processor contained within the G45 Express chipset, like the
rest of the G45 platform, isn't a radical departure from the GMA X3500 that
was introduced with the G35 Express. Astute readers may have noticed the eponymous
'HD' suffix that the newer chipset has acquired, and the reason its there is to
herald the addition of Blu-ray and 1080p content playback with hardware
acceleration, a first for Intel chipsets.
Intel's Clear Video has become the
focus of the GMA X4500HD, with the goal of using the integrated graphics to do
full hardware decoding for major video codecs. The massively parallel microarchitecture of a
GPU makes it much more efficient at processing and decoding video than can
be managed with even cutting-edge CPU designs, so as resolutions and bitrates for high-definition video
climb upwards it becomes increasingly important for the GPU to shoulder
more of the video processing load.
For the GMA
X4500HD, this means that H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2 can all be fully decoded
using the on-board hardware, with only minor CPU overhead. The GMA X4500HD is DirectX 10
and Shader Model 4 compliant, and supports DisplayPort interface at resolutions up
to 2560x1600 (motherboard manufacturer implementations vary).
To get all this video processing power on
to big screen TVs and high-resolution monitors, the GMA X4500HD now supports HDMI
with audio, a feature that has been integrated onto the Asus P5Q-EM motherboard.
Using the G45 Express chipset, the P5Q-EM can output high-definition content
over its HDMI port at 720p, 1080i or 1080p resolutions, with support for HDCP as
long as its plugged into an appropriate display.
Let's be clear, the Intel G45 Express is an integrated
video chipset made with High Definition content playback in mind, not 3D
gaming. It handles better than the previous IGP generation of course, but is
still woefully underpowered for the majority of modern games. This is the very reason the Intel G45 Express
offers users a 2nd generation PCI Express x16 connection for discrete videocards.
Here's an overview of how the G45 Express chipset stacks
up against Intel's IGP offerings from the previous two generations:
The Intel G45 northbridge is built on a 65nm
die, while the previous generation G35 and G33 chipsets were built on
more power-hungry 90nm processes. The P45 and G45 chipsets are also the first core
logic to be paired with the Intel ICH10R southbridge.
Intel's G45 Express officially supports socket 775
processors from a front side bus of 800MHz to 1600 MHz inclusive. Memory support has
also been expanded - certain motherboards, like the P5Q-EM being reviewed
today, can accommodate up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM at 667/800/1066MHz speeds, which
provides the kind of flexibility needed for overclocking.
Next PCSTATS will test the HD playback capabilities of
the Asus P5Q-EM and Intel G45 Express chipset.
||Use the power of Google to search all of PCSTATS and the PCSTATS Forums. Tell us what you think of this new feature - FEEDBACK?|