Introduction

Intel, the largest supplier of desktop computer GPUs on the face of the earth, introduced the next generation of its graphics technology with the new 915G chipset earlier this summer.



GMA 900 logo


The new graphics solution, dubbed the Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (GMA900), promises a vast improvement over Intel's previous Extreme Graphics 2 line. Proclaiming DirectX 9 Pixel Shader 2.0 support, Intel indicates that it fully supports the next generation graphics' features of Microsoft's upcoming Longhorn based operating system.



Microsoft's next Windows


Even though Intel graphics aren't generally supported by most games, having a feature-rich, ubiquitous, "worst case" solution to develop for would help push game developers in the direction of using PS2.0 as a base level of compatibility rather than designing a game or graphics engine and then tacking on cool PS2.0 eye candy to the game. Many times, getting new graphics technology into game development houses can be a chicken and egg problem. But the faster the hardware user base is built up, the faster we will start seeing higher quality graphics possible on cheaper, slower systems.

The more improvements Intel makes to its notoriously lacking, widely distributed graphics solution, the happier we will be. Just how well did Intel do this time around with the GMA900? Before we jump into performance numbers and tests, let's take a look at the features and technology behind the latest addition to the integrated graphics market.

Inside Graphics Media Accelerator 900
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  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - link

    Well, I can't believe that Anandtech can do this. Look at the Intel Graphics drivers, which are 6.14.10.3756

    The latest is: 6.14.10.3889

    The difference in those two is that 3889 has support for GMA900, which will make a lot of difference in performance.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    The reason I feel Intel has an obligation is far more than just because they are the #1 graphics chipset supplier in the world.

    Most systems that offer an IGP like the EG2 or GMA 9000 lack an AGP slot or a PCIe slot for a performance graphics card, so the manufacturer could save a few bucks. This absolutely dooms the entry-level user that knew little about graphics at the time of their computer purchase. It wouldn't bother me so much if users could easily replace the Intel solution with a top-flight graphics card, but in a lot of systems, this isn't the case. I feel that a current IGP should have close the power of a Geforce 4MX, or a Radeon 9200, hampered only by the shared-memory architecture, which will always hold these chips back. Either that, or there should be a clear upgrade path to a new graphics card. Seems business customers get the elevator in this case, but the home users get the shaft.

    Reply
  • T8000 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I think the Intel "Extreme" graphics are well worth their $3 premium, but they are meant for business desktops (and notebooks), so a review like this is just another way of saying you should buy an add-in graphics board for gaming.

    Just remember that more then half of the PC's sold will never see a 3d game, making such a graphics solution a great way to cut costs for those PC's.
    Reply
  • tfranzese - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    I am NOT inferring anything about performance. I am stating that the quality of the hardware is only as good as the software running it, which in this case are poor drivers. Intel's product is up there with the worst of them when it comes to proper drivers. In order for it to be a proper driver it should be able to render scenes properly as a customer would typically expect from such a big name.

    I havn't been criticizing performance, how fast it can render scenes. That point is easily assumed with it being an IGP. It doesn't excuse the fact though that the software is shite. And there is PLENTY in the article to support that indirectly with the screen captures and comments.

    Surprisingly the article fails to even cover Intel's driver and software presentation and integration.
    Reply
  • mikecel79 - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    #13 you are equating performance with reliabilty and quality. You don't say it, but it's infered. Here's an example maybe you can understand.

    A Civic is a well made reliable car using quality parts. It has amongst the highest quality in the inudstry. However it's performance is lacking in comparision to say a Corvette. Does that mean it is not a reliable, quality product? No of course not. So your statement is wrong. There is NOTHING in this article to show that Intel graphics are not reliable, and are of low quality. So it's not as fast as a add-in card. It doesn't make it a low quality or unreliable product.
    Reply
  • tfranzese - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    And, where did I mention the performance? It certainly is poor (and Trogdor, the only thing stupid is your comparison which is severely lacking), but if you actually read the article there are plenty of times poor image quality and errors are brought up. And this quote to be specific:

    "But we feel that being the number 1 supplier of graphics solutions in the world, Intel has a responsibility to uphold to the population of our small corner of the galaxy. By providing poor support for current technology to such a wide number of people, Intel is doing more harm than good. Obviously, there is a place for the GMA900, and we wouldn't be so hard on Intel if they could at least offer a performance based integrated solution for those who actually want compatibly, performance, and a good price point with their new system."

    And that's putting it nicely after seeing three of these benchmarks of some pretty popular games display incorrectly. If you people call that a 'realiable' and 'quality' product from a company who holds more than the majority of market share I'd have to suggest you all get your eyesight checked.
    Reply
  • tfranzese - Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - link

    IMO, the quality of the hardware is only as good as the software - and there is nothing quality about it, nor reliable in delivering what a customer might expect.

    Stupid comment, no. Has plenty of ground to stand on here.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Monday, August 02, 2004 - link

    #2 - Yeah, this is the Intel quality and reliability, and as you can see from the article, it absolutely destroys the graphics solutions made by AMD. It's infinitely faster than those. :p (Sorry, but one stupid comment deserves another.)

    Given the cost of integrated graphics - about what, $5 extra, maybe $10? - it's not too surprising to see performance this low. I do have to agree that it's rather stupid to even include integrated graphics on the latest and greatest "high end" PCs, though. A server motherboard could add an old Rage 2c chip (like most already do), while for a desktop, I can't think of a good reason to get a 3.6E 775-LGA system that doesn't involve at least running an X300. Well, I can, and that reason is "marketing".

    Still, it's just one more way for Dell to screw over customers. I'm waiting for the Dell systems based off of the 915 and 925 chipsets to start shipping *without* the PCIe X16 ports. (Unless they're already available?)
    Reply
  • thebluesgnr - Monday, August 02, 2004 - link

    #7,

    There's no nVidia IGP for socket 754/939. I think they would rather have people buying discrete graphics (from them), so they will only release an IGP chipset when they "have to", that is, when SiS760 and VIA K8M800 gain some market share. Right now socket 754 is still expensive so integrated motherboards are not very popular.
    Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Monday, August 02, 2004 - link

    kmmatney, the only IGP for the A64 so far is the Unichrome pro from VIA, whihc is not meant for 3D at all, but has a built in mpeg decoder etc...
    There was really no reason to have IGP for the A64 as the chips USE to soct so much that buying one and trying to use a IGP is liek a EE P4 on a IGP board. But now that he socket 754 sempron and the price reduction of the 2800 and 3000, I am sure there will be a nForce IGP chipset coming soon.
    Reply

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