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Two chipsets, two graphics cores

DailyTech has received a July 2006 Intel specification update on G965 and Q965 Express chipsets that reveals final details of Intel’s GMA X3000 and GMA 3000 integrated graphics cores. Intel originally intended for the G965 and Q965 Express chipsets to have the same graphics core but have since changed its mind. The result is two separate graphics core—GMA X3000 for G965 Express and GMA 3000 for Q965 Express. As Intel is appealing to the mainstream consumer with G965 Express the GMA X3000 graphics core will have greater graphics processing capabilities.

G965 Express with its GMA X3000 graphics core will support DirectX 9c, DirectX 10 and OpenGL 1.5 features. The supported features include:
  • Hardware vertex shader model 3.0
  • Hardware pixel shader model 3.0
  • 32-bit and 16-bit full precision floating point operations
  • Up to 8 multiple render targets
  • Occlusion Query
  • 128-bit floating point texture formats
  • Bilinear, trilinear and anisotropic mipmap filtering
  • Shadow maps and double sided stencils
There’s no mention of the amount of vertex or pixel shaders available on GMA X3000 graphics cores. However, the shaders are fully programmable which can be adapted to varying amounts of vertex or pixel shaders. As previously reported the GMA X3000 will have a 667 MHz graphics core clock with support for high dynamic range and Intel Clear Video Technology for enhanced video playback.

Q965 Express chipsets will receive a less powerful graphics core in the form of the GMA 3000. GMA 3000 will meet the minimums to support Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Vista Premium with Aero Glass interface with support for DirectX 9c and OpenGL 1.4 plus. The following features are supported:
  • Software vertex shader model 2.0/3.0
  • Hardware pixel shader model 2.0
  • 32-bit and 16-bit fixed point operations
  • Up to 8 multiple render targets
  • Occlusion query
  • 128-bit floating point texture formats
  • Bilinear, trilinear and anisotropic mipmap filtering
  • Shadow maps and double sided stencils
With the exception of hardware pixel shader model 2.0 support the GMA 3000 graphics core has similar specifications as the outgoing GMA 950 graphics core. Since Intel is catering Q965 Express chipsets towards business users as part of its vPro platform initiative it doesn’t exactly need gaming capable graphics power.

Availability of G965 Express based products is expected sometime this month while Q965 Express based products will have a formal launch in early September.

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RE: Questions
By defter on 8/7/2006 5:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
You don't need SM 4.0 to be a DX10 chip. SM4.0 is simply a shader model spec that is being released with it. It says in the article "supports DX9c, DX10 and SM3.0"

Other cards like the GeForce 6 series don't "support DX10 like every card released in the past few years" either. They are DX9. No card released to this day supports DX10. Though some DX10 games will have a roll-back feature to play on DX9 cards, the games then run in DX9 mode and are no longer DX10 games. The next-gen games supporting DX10 can run on older DX9 cards in DX9, DX10 doesn't run on DX9 hardware. Get it straight.

You are very confused:
- all modern cards will have DX10 drivers, meaning that they will work DX10 games, just like my GeForce3 works with DX9 games.
- The SM 4.0 is a new feature of DX10. Thus if we are talking about the chip that supports all DX10 features, SM 4.0 is a must have feature.

If GMAX3000 has only SM 3.0 just like GeForce 6xxx, then why do you think that GMAX3000 is "DX10 chip" while GeForce 6800 is "DX9 chip"?

RE: Questions
By ltcommanderdata on 8/7/2006 5:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Currect me if I'm wrong, but I thought that DirectX 10 was a complete departure from DirectX 9 and before. For one, DX10 doesn't offer any backwards compatibility. The reason is that DX10 no longer offers support for compatibility bits which means that graphics cards can no longer tell games what feature they support and so what features the game can enable. This was the primary reason why the GMA950 could claim support for DX9 since it could tell the game which features it can't run. Instead, Microsoft will define a complete supported feature set in each version/update of DX10. In order for you to claim DX10 compatibility you have to support all the features Microsoft defines. There can be no half-assed DX10 graphics card implementation, it's either all or nothing. This leads me to believe that when Intel saids DX10 support it must be full support, because there is no partial support. This is the same reason why you don't see ATI and nVidia claiming any of their current graphics cards support DX10 if it's simply a driver thing. If it's just a driver then ATI and nVidia would be all over it already in their marketing.

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