The Last "Discrete" Intel Integrated Graphics Chipset?

Intel always made its chipsets on a n - 1 manufacturing node. If the majority of its CPUs were being built on 90nm, Intel would make its chipsets on 130nm. When the CPUs moved to 65nm, chipsets would move to 90nm and so on and so forth. This only applied to the GMCH/North Bridge, the South Bridges were on a n-2 process. If the CPUs were built on 65nm, the GMCH would be built on 90nm and the ICH would be a 130nm part.

Building chipsets on n-1/n-2 manufacturing processes meant that Intel could get more use out of its older fabs before converting them to the latest technology. Given how large of an investment these multi-billion dollar fabs are, Intel's approach to manufacturing made financial sense.

Unfortunately from a performance standpoint, Intel's approach left much to be desired. Graphics performance, to a certain extent, is closely related to the die size of your GPU. The reason NVIDIA's GT200 is twice as fast as its previous generation G80 core is because there are simply more transistors, on a larger die, to crunch away at pixels (and more memory bandwidth to feed them). By limiting its chipset manufacturing to older technologies, Intel artificially limits the performance of its IGP solutions. This is compounded by the fact that they are also building hardware using architectures with fundamentally reduced capability and performance compared to competing solutions.

A year ago Intel committed to changing all of this; remember this slide?

With G45 the gap between the process that the chipsets are made on and the process that the CPUs are made on is narrowed, G45 being Intel's first 65nm IGP, it's also Intel's last IGP. After G45, there will be no more integrated graphics chipsets - Intel's graphics cores will simply be integrated onto the CPU package and eventually the CPU die itself.

A Lower Power Chipset

The move to 65nm does have some serious power benefits, we looked at the total system power consumption of G45 vs. G35 using a Core 2 Quad Q9300 running a variety of tests:

  Intel G45 (DDR3) Intel G45 (DDR2) Intel G35 (DDR2) Intel G45 Power Savings
System at Idle 66.8W 68.2W 79.7W 11.5W
Company of Heroes 92.4W 95.6W 103.9W 8.3W
Video Encoding (PCMark Vantage TV/Movies) 114.8W 115.8W 124.6W 8.8W
Blu-ray Playback 83.3W 84.9W 107.3 22.4W


Using the same memory, G45 manages to shave off a good 8 - 11% from the total system power consumption. There's a tremendous advantage in Blu-ray playback but that is due to more than just more power efficient transistors, which we'll address shortly.

We'll also see some G45 boards use DDR3 memory, which thanks to its lower operating voltage will shave off another couple of watts from your total system power budget.

The GMCH/ICH Showdown: What's New in the 4-Series Competitive Integrated Graphics?


View All Comments

  • Olyros - Sunday, February 08, 2009 - link

    I noticed there's a mention in the article about searching for the perfect mini-itx case. The Nexus Psile case that I'm using for my Intel "DG45FC"-based computer is perfect for it I think. Especially if you are after stylish and quiet computers.
    Here are a couple of links for you to check it out if you want:">
  • lubama - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    Quote from "Intel's G45 Motherboard round up

    "However, at various times after the system has gone to sleep it will wake back up without intervention for a few seconds and then shuts down. Sometimes this a few minutes after entering sleep mode, other times it occurred an hour or so later. The board requires a full power cycle to come back to life and does not always resume to Vista, instead we receive the error that Vista has been incurred an error after entering the OS."

    Have you found a solution to this problem, seems like you are the only person, other than me, who is catching this issue. I have posted in numerous DG45ID forums and this exact issue is non-existent and haven't received any answers.
  • IntelUser2000 - Sunday, October 12, 2008 - link

    Anand, G965/G35/GM965 has 8 EUs(Execution Units), but each of the EUs contain 2 cores, meaning it has 16 cores. Each cores can also process 2 threads, meaning it has a maximum of 32 thread capability. From that, its not comparable to Nvidia, nor ATI so Intel have their own performance metric.

    For G45, I assume its 10 EUs, 20 cores. Intel papers mention 50 threads.
  • puddnhead - Wednesday, October 08, 2008 - link

    I second (thrid? fourth? fifth? 9th?) the call for the part 2 (what it's pretty obvious everyone is more interested in anyway, not this article).

    I wonder if you coudl at least give us an ETA of not the article itself? You know, if it's this week, this month, or ??? Thta doesn't seem too much to ask, I'm surprised you don't give that from the start.
  • computerfarmer - Friday, October 03, 2008 - link

    Looking forward to part_2.

    I hope they are sooner than the promised reviews from these articles.

    AMD SB750 arrives on the Foxconn A79A-S...
    Date: July 21st, 2008
    Author: Gary Key">

    AMD's SB750: Enabling Higher Phenom Overclocks?
    Date: July 23rd, 2008
    Topic: CPU & Chipset
    Manufacturer: AMD
    Author: Gary Key">

    AMD 790GX - The Introduction
    Date: August 6th, 2008
    Topic: CPU & Chipset
    Manufacturer: AMD
    Author: Gary Key">
  • computerfarmer - Friday, October 03, 2008 - link

    When is PART_2 coming out? Reply
  • duploxxx - Friday, October 03, 2008 - link

    Lots of talk of bringing a great roundup of chipsets...already for a few weeks now.

    Where does anand start? at the least interesting and the most garbage chipset for several years now.

    lets hope your global review is as good as people expect it to be.
    you started off already a bit better then you did in recent gpu reviews, you actually took a cpu that was rather common to be used, although a e7200 or Q8200 would be a much better fit for this kind of boards.

  • whosthere - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    I didn't see any specifics on the Game Settings. Could you please post them...
  • dutchroll - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    Yeah I was thinking much the same thing about the "fanboi" comments.

    Can they spell "hypocrite"? It really betrays your allegiance when you rant at Intel then go all wobbly and weak at the knees while mentioning AMD. AT are damned if they do, damned if they don't as far as reviewing either brand's offerings. They've already stated how good the 780G was. They've stated what bugs are in the G45. So what the heck is the problem?
  • piesquared - Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - link

    The problem is, they promised a SB750 review 2 months ago. The problem is they promised a DFI LP JR. review 1 month ago. The problem is they go well out of there way to avoid any comparison of Intel's ITD, and AMD's IGP. So what if they obscure and bury a line inside an Intel article that gives credit to AMD hardware. They fail to give credit where credit is due, and it is glaringly obvious. And it's even more obvious when this article pops up suddently when Intel has a new driver. They were waiting on Intel's promises of a new driver that would improve performance, and show it's hardware in a better light. Doesn't matter if you crap in a plastic or paper bag, it's still a bag of shit though. I'll make a wager that none of the upcomming "promised" reviews will have any side by side comparisons of Intel's IDT, to any other IGP. Unless of course AT stalls long enough to allow Intle more time to produce yet another driver..... Reply

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