AMD prepares to launch four discrete graphics and three new IGP chipsets for Socket AM2+ and 1207+

AMD plans to release its K10-derived Stars-family desktop processors later this year. The new Stars-family processors take advantage of AMD’s Socket AM2+, an updated Socket AM2 platform that adds support for the faster Hyper Transport 3.0 bus. AMD’s latest roadmap divulges information on its upcoming Hyper Transport 3.0 compatible chipset family, arriving in Q3’2007.

The new AMD discrete graphics chipset family includes four new chipsets ranging from the entry-level RX740 to the flagship RD790. At the top of the discrete graphics lineup is the RD790, which replaces the current AMD 580X. The RD790 serves double duty in AMD’s chipset lineup, powering AMD’s Quad FX Socket 1207+ and Socket AM2 platforms.

AMD’s flagship packs plenty of PCI Express flexibility with up to four physical PCIe x16 slots. The four slots can electrically operate with four 8-lane slots, one 16-lane and three 8-lane, or two 16-lane slots. There are six additional PCIe lanes for additional expansion. The RD790 is fully PCIe 2.0 compatible. AMD plans to target RD790 towards the $150 plus market.

Taking place of the AMD 480X is the upcoming RD780. The new RD780 supports two physical PCIe x16 slots in dual eight-lane configurations. The two PCIe x16 slots are fully PCIe 2.0 compatible. Slotted below the RD780 is the RX780, which does away with CrossFire multi-GPU support. The RX780 supports a single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot. Both chipsets support AMD’s Hyper Transport 3.0 bus. RD780 will target the $70-100 price points while the RX780 takes on the $50-70 price points.

AMD also intends to offer more value conscious consumers the RX740. This chipset features support for AMD’s Socket AM2+, however, it only supports Hyper Transport 1.0. The RX740 does not support PCIe 2.0 either.RX740 will take on the same $50-70 price points as the RX780.

AMD RD780, RX780 and RX740 can also share the same motherboard design, simplifying the design process. The four new chipsets pair up with AMD’s existing SB600 south bridge, as the SB700 won’t be ready until Q4’2007.

The new chipsets will also feature a Windows-based tweaking utility – AMD System Utility. The AMD System Utility allows users to tweak memory settings, automatically overclock the processor, test system stability and benchmark the processor and memory.

AMD is also preparing its next-generation integrated graphics chipsets for Q1’2008 as well. The new IGP family includes the DirectX 10 compatible RS780 and RS780C. AMD’s upcoming RS780 has all the processing and connectivity goodies. RS780 is the first IGP chipset to feature AMD’s Universal Video Decoder, which debuts with the ATI Radeon HD 2000-family.

UVD provides hardware acceleration for H.264/AVC and VC-1 high-definition video formats up to 40Mbits. Joining the UVD is support for DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort output connectivity. Targeting the value market is the RS780C. RS780C does away with UVD and DisplayPort support. Nevertheless, RS780 and RS780C support PCIe 2.0 and Hyper Transport 3.0.

Slotting below the RS780C is the DirectX 9 compatible RS740. RS740 supports Socket AM2+, but is limited to Hyper Transport 1.0 like the RX740. It is limited to PCIe 1.0 as with the RX740. Nevertheless, RS740 supports DVI and HDMI video outputs. AMD plans to launch RS740 before the RS780 and RS780C in Q4’2007.

In addition to upcoming chipsets, AMD’s roadmap divulges HQV Benchmark scores for its RS780 and RS740 chipsets. AMD’s upcoming RS780 will score a perfect 130 points while the RS740 scores 105 points. The current AMD 690G scores 80 points while Intel’s G965 scores 48 points.

Unlike AMD’s discrete graphics chipsets, the IGP products pair up with the upcoming SB700 south bridge. SB700 delivers six SATA 3.0Gbps ports with RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 support, fourteen USB ports and NAND flash memory option.

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