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G45 And GeForce 9400: Integrated Chipsets For Core 2

G45 And GeForce 9400: Integrated Chipsets For Core 2

Only a few years ago, chipset comparisons were true performance shootouts. While this is still the case at the high end, where top-of-the-line core logic has to support multiple-GPU setups, today’s mainstream systems can be equipped with integrated graphics with little fuss. Chipsets are now more often compared in terms of their features and power consumption, since basic performance is typically pretty constant. Given that backdrop, we looked at the two more recent Core 2-based integrated platforms: Intel’s G45 and the Nvidia GeForce 9400 mGPU.

Integrated Chipsets Today

Enthusiasts used to fear the “integrated” moniker, as it generally meant both pathetic performance and inflexibility, regardless of whether the chipset was provided by AMD, Intel, Nvidia, SiS, VIA, or someone else. But those days are now long past. Even the cheapest desktop system you can get today will be fast enough to browse the Web, work on office files, and play multimedia content.

Today’s integrated chipsets not only include relatively flexible graphics units, they also come with quick network controllers, plenty of USB and storage interfaces, and limited--but still available--upgrade paths. Many of them can even be paired with high-performance processors, turning these systems into fairly muscular desktop PCs.

Powering The PC Of Tomorrow

In fact, integrated solutions have a bright future. On the one hand, the majority of PC systems sold has always been based on integrated core logic. On the other hand, increased integration and flexibility move these compact, integrated solutions closer to fully featured ATX boxes, while maintaining lower space requirements and cost.

Using an inexpensive Pentium Dual Core or Celeron, a small amount of RAM, and an ordinary 320 GB hard drive puts our two test systems into the budget price range. In contrast, a fast Core 2 Quad with 4 GB of memory and a fast drive will make these systems as fast as any other enthusiast platform—as long as you don’t look at graphics performance. In such a case, Nvidia has a little advantage over Intel, as the Hybrid SLI feature lets the system team its motherboard GPUs with an additional, low-cost graphics card. It still won’t give you competitive 3D performance, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 8 April 2009 19:09
    another article to prove that Intel IGP is inferior :D 
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 9 April 2009 00:14
    ..and the reason why people still buy AMD rigs :) 
  • 0 Hide
    wild9 , 9 April 2009 00:28
    Instead, you have to select nForce—which alone may be impossible for someone who is not familiar with the NVIDIA portfolio—check nForce 7 series and then select nForce 730i/GeForce 9400/9300.

    I hope nVidia picks up this. There are similar problems when trying to source drivers for AMD platforms, or find general information on their feature sets. With different labels to represent the same product it can be very confusing. Surely they can simplify it.
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 9 April 2009 00:32
    Could you run an AMD card in the NVidia board and use physx accel through the mobo?
  • 0 Hide
    edisback , 9 April 2009 05:24
    Wow, Is Tom's Hardware saying that the G45/ GeForce 9400 motherboard architecture has made such a leap forward in power efficiency that the 'System idle power'(if not quite peak power) figures are not that dis-similar to the G31 motherboards reviewed in the "G31 And E7200: The Real Low-Power Story" story?,2039-13.html

    The power savings from the G45/ GeForce 9400 motherboard architecture(s) must be considerable considering the extra power required for the Quad processor's and all the extra components on the G45/GeForce 9400 motherboards ......

    Have the G45/ GeForce 9400 motherboards knocked the G31/ E7200 combo of their low power perch?
  • 0 Hide
    madogre , 9 April 2009 22:41
    No you cant run physx on the 9400 and then run an ATI GPU for gaming.
  • 0 Hide
    BenSheriff , 8 September 2009 10:26
    who the hell wants to run ati lolz. Nvidia always provides better clarity and perforamnce amd/ati has always got error , bugs , delays and ofc HEAt issues!