rough details of the integrated graphics core in the upcoming Intel G965
Express chipset—Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3000. Early roadmaps showed
the graphics core as being Microsoft Windows Vista Premium compatible with
support for Aero Glass. It was also said the graphics core would have Clear
Video Technology to improve video playback.
DailyTech recently had the opportunity to pick apart some of the
specifications for Intel's GMA X3000 architecture, and compare it to some of
the other architectures available today. Perhaps the largest improvement of GMA
X3000 over GMA 950 is the move away from a fixed function pipeline in favor of
a programmable pipeline. NVIDIA and ATI abandoned fixed function
pipelines in 2001.
Intel’s latest motherboard
update has more detailed information on the Graphics Media Accelerator X3000.
DirectX 9 features such as Pixel Shader 3 and Vertex Shader 3.0 are supported.
This time around the Vertex Shader 3.0 units are hardware based instead of the
software based shaders found in previous GMA900/950 and Extreme graphics
cores. A hardware transform and lighting engine has also been integrated and a
significant improvement over the previous software T&L engine. High dynamic
range is also supported for great realism in gaming. Lastly the GMA X3000
graphics core will be clocked up to 667 MHz -- quite a bit higher than current budget
ATI and NVIDIA offerings.
Video output capabilities of
the GMA X3000 are limited to a native VGA output. HDMI, DVI, UDI, component,
composite and S-Video can be added through the SVDO port or with an ADD2 expansion
card like the previous GMA900/950 graphics cores. This more or less indicates HDCP
compliance will be left up to the motherboard manufacturer or ADD2 card
manufacturer. GMA X3000 will support resolutions up to 2048x1536 including
720p/1080i/1080p in 16:9, 4:3 and letterbox aspect ratios.
Clear Video Technology will provide algorithms and features to improve
video playback. Clear Video Technology
will have plenty of graphics power to simultaneously playback one high
definition and one standard definition video stream for picture-in-picture. Hardware
acceleration for high definition MPEG2 and VC1 is supported. However, it doesn’t look
like Intel will offer hardware acceleration for H.264 at this time. An advanced
de-interlacing algorithm is also integrated for improved video quality of
interlaced sources such as DVD’s and cable programming. The built-in advanced
pixel adaptive de-interlacing algorithm supports standard and high definition
video content up to 1080i lines of resolution.
previously had a single integrated graphics core for all of its integrated
core-logic but this time around there are at least two different graphics
cores. While the consumer level G965 Express receives the GMA X3000 graphics
core, Q965 Express chipsets receive the GMA 3000 graphics core. Differences
between the GMA X3000 and GMA 3000 include the lack of Intel Clear Video Technology on the GMA 3000.
This isn’t too surprising as the Q965 is part of Intel’s Stable Image Platform
Program aimed towards business and corporate users. Aside from the lack of Clear Video Technology the GMA 3000
graphics core retains compatibility with Windows Vista Premium with Aero Glass
interface like the GMA X3000. There’s no word if the GMA 3000 graphics core clocked as high as GMA X3000.
G965 Express is expected to launch the last week of July with Core 2 processors while Q965 Express is expected to launch the first week of September with Intel’s vPro business platform.
quote: So what?
Intel is not in the business of performance graphics. Their main concern is to make sure their IGP will be compatible with Windows Vista. That way system builders need not add in a discreet GPU. That would only increase the price to their customers who are mostly big businesses.