Binning the Chipsets

Both AMD and NVIDIA offer higher speed versions of their integrated graphics; AMD has the 790GX and NVIDIA has the GeForce 8300. Let's start with the GeForce 8300 because it's the easiest to deal with: this is nothing more than an overclocked GeForce 8200.

The 8200 runs its SPs at 1.2GHz while the 8300 runs them at 1.5GHz. In our tests we had no problems taking any of our GeForce 8200 boards up to 1.5GHz; they all offered the clock speed option in the BIOS. On top of that, the performance benefit wasn't really worth it - have a look:

Game (1024x768) NVIDIA GeForce 8200 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 GeForce 8300 Advantage
Quake Wars 27.6 29.1 5%
Company of Heroes 26.2 29.4 12%
Race Driver GRID 6.7 8.1 21%
Age of Conan 14.3 15.5 8%
Crysis 19.4 20.2 4%
Spore 11.1 11.7 5%

With the exception of Company of Heroes and GRID, the GeForce 8300 didn't offer any tangible performance benefits. The average performance increase was 9%, but if you take out GRID you get an average boost of 7%. It's just a quick way to make you part with another $15 as the boards are more expensive than the 8200 versions.

AMD 790GX vs. 780G

AMD's 790GX is a little more difficult to distill. You get a faster graphics core (700MHz vs. 500MHz), but you also get a newer Southbridge (SB750 vs. SB700) that adds RAID 5 support and the new ACC interface to Phenom CPUs that can increase overclocking potential. AMD 790GX boards are also more likely to have some dedicated "Sideport" memory, meaning a small amount of local memory only for use by the GPU to improve performance. With enough processing power, integrated graphics is often constrained by memory bandwidth. Given how potentially powerful AMD's IGP cores are, it makes sense to have an option for more memory bandwidth.

Obviously all of these features drive 790GX prices up higher than their 780G counterparts. 780G boards range in price from $60~$99 while the 790GX boards range in price from $99 to $155 on average. The performance breaks down as follows:

Game (1024x768) AMD 780G AMD 780G + Sideport AMD 790GX w/ Sideport 790GX Advantage
Quake Wars 25.2 26.4 33.1 25%
Company of Heroes 41.1 41.7 55.2 32%
Race Driver GRID 28.1 28.1 36.3 29%
Age of Conan 14.6 15.8 21.4 35%
Crysis 26.2 26.7 35.4 33%
Spore 12.8 12.6 14.9 18%

 

Both the 790GX and the 780G + Sideport options here have a 128MB local frame buffer in addition to using a portion of system memory for the total frame buffer. Sideport is rare on 780G but much more common on 790GX boards. As you can see, the Sideport memory doesn't do anything for 780G so the real advantage of 790GX is its faster core clock. As for the 790GX itself, the performance advantage over the 780G is nothing short of significant - at 1024x768 we measured an average increase of 29%.

AMD vs. Intel vs. NVIDIA: Fight The Gaming Performance Showdown
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  • sergev - Monday, January 12, 2009 - link

    A fair comparison? Don't think so! A AMD processor with a 140 Watt TDP and a Intel processor with a 95 Watt TDP?? I wonder why the intel chipsets seem more power efficient? If you are testing the performance, ok seems fair, but power efficiency should be measured with two processors with the same TDP. I am convinced that if you did the same test with a AMD 4850E the AMD would beat the crap out the intel versions on power consumption. But yet again, that would not be fair. So keep in mind that this review is not to be taken al to seriously! Reply
  • axiomhk - Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - link

    Hi, what amazes me is that it seems no reviewers of the AMD IGP chipsets have caught the serious 2D issues referred to here:

    http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview.cfm?catid=2...">http://forums.amd.com/game/messageview....9&th...

    However, the only channel that we consumers / mere mortals have to put pressure on AMD is to send feedback to the Catalyst team. Nothing seems to get done and there is not even any acknowledgement that this issue exists across the HD3200/HD3300 IGPs no matter which manufacturer.

    The 3D performance is hyped up and that's all very well when the chipset has shown that it can deliver, but in fact many users will spend a lot of time on 2D activities which truly suck. This makes a lot of users regret their purchase.

    What the renowned sites such as anandtech and tomshardware can do is try to reproduce the issues, then use their direct contacts to try to see if this issue is being addressed and update the parent article accordingly. Is it possible? Many thanks. GM - Hong Kong.
    Reply
  • Zap - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    "The keyboard is not available after drive recognition until the Windows startup routine"

    Try a different keyboard, or a PS/2 keyboard. I had the same problem with two MSI 750a boards and some Razer USB keyboards. No keyboard until Windows. I had to fix a BIOS problem and had to borrow a keyboard - Logitech G15 USB keyboard worked fine.
    Reply
  • arjunp2085 - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    Is this not a bit ODD to Compare a $260 to a Lowly Under performing [B}$173 CPU... Geezs This is Grossly inaccurate

    Think about the BOOST to Post Processing and It differs a Whole Lot to the Post processing capability
    Reply
  • Strid - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    Yeah, it would have made more sense, IMO, to use lower end processors like AMD 4850E or Intel E5200/7200 which is what most people would use in a HTPC.

    But if you want to do encoding on your HTPC also, I can see the need for a quad core. But not for your average "movie box".
    Reply
  • Staples - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Really, this thing came out like 6 months ago it seems and finally we get some video benchmarks on anandtech. I know it has been commented that it did not work right for months because the video drivers were terrible but I can not believe it really took that long. When I had to get a HTPC, I just bought an Athlon BE and a 780G board. Much cheaper and adequate. Which in hindsight the P45 may have performed better, an Intel CPU and a Core 2 CPU would have driven the price up quite a bit. Reply
  • Kreed - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Gary, what are you hinting at with the following statement?

    "That leaves the Intel G45. If you are an Intel fan, this is your only real IGP choice... for the next few days at least."

    Are you suggesting that Intel might be releasing a new IGP over the
    Reply
  • Kreed - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Oops, i didn't get to finish the comment. Here's the comment in full:

    Gary, what are you hinting at with the following statement?

    "That leaves the Intel G45. If you are an Intel fan, this is your only real IGP choice... for the next few days at least."

    Are you suggesting that Intel might be releasing a new IGP over the next few days?
    Reply
  • Strid - Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - link

    The NVIDIA MCP7A (GeForce 9300/9400 IGP) boards supposedly launches today. They're sockey 775 boards. I'm pretty sure AnandTech will have a review up soon.

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php...">http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php...
    Reply
  • steveyballme - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Clearly Nvidia!


    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply

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