AMD vs. Intel vs. NVIDIA: Fight

At the heart of AMD's 780G we have what AMD is calling a Radeon HD 3200 graphics core, providing the most powerful (on paper) integrated graphics on the market today. The table below should shed some light on the balance of power:

  AMD 790GX AMD 780G Intel G45 Intel G35 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 NVIDIA GeForce 8200
Graphics Radeon HD 3300 Radeon HD 3200 GMA X4500

GMA X3500

GeForce 8300 mGPU GeForce 8200 mGPU
Core Clock 700MHz 500MHz 800MHz 667MHz 500MHz Core /
1.5GHz Shader
500MHz Core / 1.2GHz Shader
Shader Processors 8 (5-way) 8 (5-way) 10

8

8 8
Full H.264/VC-1/MPEG-2 HW Decode Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes

 

While Intel's G35, NVIDIA's GeForce 8200, and AMD's 780G all have 8 of what we're calling "SPs" or stream processors, their clock speeds and capabilities vary greatly from one to the next. Intel and NVIDIA are closest in this regard, as each SP has a peak throughput of a single instruction per clock. AMD's architecture is a bit more capable in the sense that each SP can have a maximum throughput of 5 instructions per clock. It gets a bit more complicated as NVIDIA has separate hardware for transcendental operations, which occupy one of the five "slots" in each AMD SP.

If you multiply it all out that gives Intel a throughput of 8 instructions per clock for G35, 10 for G45, 10 for NVIDIA's GeForce 8200 (where two are transcendental operations) and 40 for AMD. In terms of worst case throughput however, AMD falls down to 8 per clock (assuming the compiler can't feed the hardware 4 shader ops + 1 transcendental per SP) as does NVIDIA. This worst case rarely happens, but it is definitely worth noting.

Taking clock speeds into account, Intel really falls behind here. While G45 has a similar instruction throughput to NVIDIA's architecture, it runs its SPs at 800MHz while NVIDIA runs its at 1.4GHz giving NVIDIA a 75% raw performance advantage. AMD's core runs much slower at 500MHz, but the SPs are far more complex, so we end up with the following scenarios:

In the best case for AMD, the 780G is 43% more powerful than the GeForce 8200, but in the worst case NVIDIA's hardware is 1.8x faster than AMD's thanks to the clock speed advantage and AMD's dependency on ILP within an instruction stream. The integrated graphics race then becomes even more variable than how AMD/NVIDIA stack up with discrete GPUs; the swing from an AMD advantage to an NVIDIA advantage is much wilder than what we see with the GeForce GTX 260 vs. Radeon HD 4850.

The Test

Our Intel test bed today features the Q9300 quad-core processor and the AMD/NVIDIA platform features the Phenom X4 9950BE. Both of theses processor offers terrific performance with decent power consumption and thermals for the cost. Our Patriot DDR2-800 Viper 4GB memory kit has served us well for the past few months and we highly recommend it. We chose Corsair for our HX-520W power supply that has served us well in testing a variety of IGP solutions. Our favorite midrange HDD continues to be the Western Digital SE16 640GB that provides the near perfect balance of price, performance, and capacity.

Our motherboard selection represents a small cross section of IGP products based on the Intel G35/45, AMD 780G, and NVIDIA GeForce 8200/8300 products. While we tested over fourteen motherboards for this article, we're using the results from the best of the best for each chipset.

Index Binning the Chipsets
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  • GPGPUman - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    AMD 780G and 790GX have 8 stream processors (5-way) for a total of 40 possible ops per clock... NOT 10 Reply
  • MrMilli - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    If you multiply it all out that gives Intel a throughput of 8 instructions per clock for G35, 10 for G45, 10 for NVIDIA's GeForce 8200 (where two are transcendental operations) and 40 for AMD. In terms of worst case throughput however, AMD falls down to 8 per clock (assuming the compiler can't feed the hardware 4 shader ops + 1 transcendental per SP) as does NVIDIA. This worst case rarely happens, but it is definitely worth noting.

    10 for nvidia => 8 for nvidia
    AMD falls down to 8 per clock => to 10 per clock

    Reply
  • a1yet - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    wow finally a video playback comparison :-) TY

    I have a question one of you may be able to answer ?
    In the "Hardware Accelerated Blu-ray Playback Comparison"
    (CPU usage) the 780 beat the 790 in 3 of the 6 tests!
    With the 790 using up to 9% MORE CPU usage, and in the
    other 3 tests. The 790 beat the 780 by only .3% (well within a margin of error)
    Up to 9% MORE CPU usage is A LOT!
    I want to buy the 790 but this is a disappointment!
    Dose anyone know why the 790 uses so much more CPU then the 780.
    Is it's HD Acceleration sub-par ?
    Heck in the "Crank DB" test all the cards beat the 790.
    Please help TY
    Reply
  • yknott - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Do we know if the Radeon HD4xxx cards support output at 1080p/24fps?

    I did some googling and can't find anyone who can verify this
    Reply
  • Geraldo8022 - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    "do we know if the Radeon HD4xxx cards support output at 1080p/24fps?"
    this is exactly what I want to know also.
    Reply
  • Screammit - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    I just received a 4670 today to plug into my old PC that i'm slowly converting into an HTPC. In the display modes 1080p/24 is natively listed, but i'll have to get my blu ray drive in before I can truly verify that it works. Sure seems to have support though. Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    An Intel processor and chipset with an AMD discrete card Reply
  • SkCom - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    testing amd ddr 2 and intel ddr 3 is not fer test and amd made the 780 790 for usage with cheap cpu SEMPRON so why use phenom and rise the w power when simply can do the chep cpu psu ram and still
    watch HD movies surf and dissant gaming price perfom AMD 1 CHAMPION
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Checked twice, can't find any punctuation in this post. I have no idea what you are trying to say. Reply
  • fic2 - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Apparently using a Sempron takes away your ability to punctuate, spell check or make much sense. Reply

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