My take on AMD's first integrated graphics chipset since its acquisition of ATI

AMD’s RS690 finally made its debut early last week in two variants – 690G and 690V. The AMD 690G was one of the few chipsets I was looking forward to because you see, I’m more intrigued by the integrated graphics chipset products than the high-end overclock the heck out of a processor products.

Back when I was still writing hardware reviews, the GeForce 6150 and nForce 430 was the chipset I stood by and constantly recommended to those looking for a budget or home theater PC solution.

ATI only had its Radeon Xpress 1100, Radeon Xpress 200 or whatever ATI felt like calling it depending on the day of the week. I was never truly impressed by ATI’s Radeon Xpress 200 because of the pre-SB600 south bridges with its USB performance problems.

On paper, the AMD 690G sounds impressive and ideal for home theater PCs – integrated HDMI, HDCP, passively cooled chipset and video processing features to boot. After months of waiting and plethora of articles written by myself on the RS690-family, I’m left disappointed.

Although it can hold its own in gaming performance when compared to NVIDIA’s offerings, the supposed AVIVO features appear to be lacking. And that’s all I care about, video processing because let’s be honest, you’re better off buying a used 6600GT or X1300 Pro to play games.

Geoff Gassior, a good friend of mine, wrote an excellent review of the AMD 690G on TechReport. His CPU utilization results were not favorable to the AMD 690G. When it came to playing H.264 and WMV-HD videos, the AMD 690G had a higher CPU utilization rate than the previously released GeForce 6150 and nForce 430.

While it still plays the videos smoothly, it’s disappointing to see AMD’s new 690G beaten out by NVIDIA’s soon-to-be-replaced chipset. DVD video quality isn’t in favor of the AMD 690G either, according to Hot Hardware’s review. Discrete ATI graphics cards passed Silicon Optix’s HQV DVD Benchmark with scores of over 100. The AMD 690G scored a 90 – nearly 20 points below NVIDIA’s GeForce 6150.

Maybe I had too high of hopes for the AMD 690G or maybe it failed to wow me like the NVIDIA GeForce 6150 and nForce 430. After being late to the integrated chipset party, AMD fails to deliver, in my opinion. Nevertheless, if NVIDIA’s GeForce 6150 can hold its own after being on the market for nearly a year, than the upcoming MCP68 should have no problems competing with the AMD 690G.

There was a time when ATI graphics ruled the multimedia world; guess that time is nearing the end as NVIDIA is quickly catching up.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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