The importance of GPU performance is increasing; if it weren't, Intel wouldn't be so feverishly working to bring Larrabee to market and Apple wouldn't have announced a switch away from Intel chipsets two years after adopting them. GPU accelerated applications are finally beginning to get some exposure; Adobe's recent Photoshop CS4 introduction is the perfect example. If more big-name developers deliver GPU accelerated applications that matter, having a higher performance integrated graphics solution becomes more interesting.

Things have been amazingly quiet on the Intel chipset front. Once the AMD-ATI acquisition was announced, development on ATI Intel chipsets all but halted as did shipments of ATI's chipsets to motherboard makers - no one was looking to touch that beast with a 10 foot pole. That left Intel and NVIDIA as the only providers for Intel chipsets.

We finally got G45 a couple of months ago, but in many ways it was a mild upgrade to G35 rather than the platform we'd all been waiting for. NVIDIA has had its gloves on and eyes set on causing Intel trouble wherever possible, so it's not a surprise that NVIDIA's G45 killer is set up to look even stronger on paper.

The GeForce 9300 and 9400 are similar in many ways to the GeForce 8200/8300 from the AMD world, but obviously since we're talking about non-Nehalem Intel platforms they do have a few changes like the inclusion of a memory controller. Like their AMD counterparts however, the GeForce 9300/9400 are single-chip solutions and unlike the 8200/8300 they are built on a smaller 65nm manufacturing process.

  AMD 780G Intel G45 NVIDIA GeForce 9400 NVIDIA GeForce 9300 NVIDIA GeForce 8200
CPU AMD Socket-AM2 Intel LGA-775 Intel LGA-775 Intel LGA-775 AMD Socket-AM2
Manufacturing Process 55nm 65nm 65nm 65nm 80nm
FSB N/A 800 / 1066 / 1333MHz 800 / 1066 / 1333MHz 800 / 1066 / 1333MHz N/A
Memory Controller N/A 2 x 64-bit DDR2/DDR3 channels 2 x 64-bit DDR2/DDR3 channels 2 x 64-bit DDR2/DDR3 channels N/A
Memory Speeds Supported N/A DDR2-800/667
DDR3-1066/800
DDR2-800
DDR3-1333
DDR2-800
DDR3-1333
N/A
PCI Express 22 PCIe 2.0 lanes 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes 20 PCIe 2.0 lanes 20 PCIe 2.0 lanes 19 PCIe 2.0 lanes
Graphics Radeon HD 3200 GMA X4500 GeForce 9400 mGPU GeForce 9300 mGPU GeForce 8200 mGPU
Core Clock 500MHz 800MHz 580MHz Core / 1.4GHz Shader 450MHz Core / 1.2GHz Shader 500MHz Core / 1.2GHz Shader
Shader Processors 8 (5-way) 10 16 16 8
Full H.264/VC-1/MPEG-2 HW Decode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
8-channel LPCM No Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

The single-chip design does help enable small form factors as you can get a little more compact with your motherboard layout, but this is mainly an advantage on the mobile side (or with non-standard desktop form factors, e.g. iMac). Built on a 65nm process we should actually see power consumption fairly competitive with Intel's G45, especially given that Intel's ICH10 is built on a 130nm process while the G45 is 65nm.

Feature-wise we do get some upgrades over NVIDIA's previous chipsets, exclusively in the graphics department, which we'll get to shortly. Finally, GeForce 9300 boards should be selling for around $100 on average with availability shortly.

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  • XavierJohn - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    I switched from a Pioneer Elite to Integra DHC-9.9 and to me it seems like the Pioneer sounds better. Pioneer during its speaker setup also setup EQ to compensate for room modes. I did not see Integra do that. Reply
  • XavierJohn - Friday, October 17, 2008 - link

    I wish you said atleast one sentence on why you would go from Pioneer to DTC 9.8.
    Better sound?
    Reply
  • BikeDude - Thursday, October 16, 2008 - link

    I have never fully understood "PureVideo". It is my understanding that this is only supported by a handful few players, like the awfully buggy PowerDVD that simply won't run on my system (PowerDVD no longer support SCSI DVD-ROM). Reply
  • Atechie - Friday, October 17, 2008 - link

    Funny, Windows Media Player and PureVideo works fine for me? Reply
  • iwodo - Thursday, October 16, 2008 - link

    The performance for Ethernet CPU usage seems rather poor. In fact all of them are bad, as Intel should be in the region of single digit percentage shown in other website.

    One interesting point i realize while reading, i hope to share with their reader.
    Is that measuring the few percentage difference with low CPU resoource usage playing H.264 Full HD isn't very important at all... Why?

    Because the difference between 15 - 25% , while 10% looks like a lot, the most important factor is POWER CONSUMPTION. While most people would think lower CPU usage and therefore lower power usage. In this article it turns out while Geforce has the lowest power consumption while using most CPU resources.

    And how many people use their CPU for other heavy task while watching Full HD Movie?

    I cant wait to see these being refreshed next summer, with 40nm, more die space because memory and most northbridge move to CPU, we should be able to put more then double the shader inside?
    Reply
  • crabnebula - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    I know the focus is on Blu-ray and progressive source material, but most people stil have SD DVDs and 1080i TV broadcasts that they want to play back on their HTPC.

    Adequate deinterlacing, detail enhancement and noise reduction have been the missing pieces of the puzzle for all other IGPs except the 780G + Phenom combination, but that has other issues.

    What about the 9300/9400? Does the increased GPU power allow for better processing?

    If it doesn't, there is one other check missing on your list, in my opinion.
    Reply
  • Natfly - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    So is this the article that was supposed to come out analyzing the 780G, 8200, and G45? You know, months.... and months.... and months ago? I'm glad you guys waited until nVidia released a competative product before releasing this article. Otherwise I would have bought a 780G motherboard months ago. Reply
  • AmdInside - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    I wish you guys wouldn't use the Sony BDU-X10S in your testing. I've owned this drive and it just sucks. Had problems on both Intel and NVIDIA chipsets.

    As for the data transferring problem, I had the same problem recently on my Badaxe2 motherboard. I was moving my hard drive from my Geforce 8200 system to Intel G45 system but first needed to copy recordings to another hard drive so that I could format the hard drive. My desktop has a Badaxe2 is running Vista x64 and I too randomly experienced pauses when copying 500GB of data. Not sure if it is related but it might just be a Vista thing.
    Reply
  • steveyballme - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    Vista will run about as fast as XP with one of these things installed!


    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • Badkarma - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    Hi Anand/Gary,

    In your next installment, can you please find the slowest usable CPU that plays Bluray smoothly and also test Speedstep with it? Using a quadcore is really overkill and kind of defeats the purpose of GPU DXVA. The 8200 w/ a 4850e cannot utilize CnQ to playback BR. I'd like to see whether a 9300 w/ E5200 or E7200 and Speedstep enabled can play BR smoothly.

    Thanks.
    Reply

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