So the RS690 chipset provides the connectivity options as far as audio, video and some extra memory buffering for laptop and low-power consumption devices. The SB600 provides USB, SATA/PATA and a PCI interface to complete the package.
Now of course the big thing in this is that this makes the 690G chipset the only chipset currently produced that supports dual digital outputs. As well as this feature AMD have integrated HDMI into the chipset hardware. This is certainly a move forward and a welcomed one at that.
Now the GPU that is integrated into the 690G chipset is a member of the ATI family and akin to the X700A "User Experience"
One thing that was very much prominent at the press conference was the fact that the 690G chipset gives the user a better "experience". Now here at OC3D this is something we try to integrate into almost all of our reviews and certainly real-life testing is integral in our graphics card testing.
AMD have been working closely with Microsoft to make sure that their new chipset measures up to Vista and indeed this was highlighted by a quote from Steve Ballmer (CEO Microsoft Corporation)
|From day one, AMD has played a key role in helping us design and validate the new driver model at the heart of Windows Vista. That knowledge has led to the development of extremely stable, feature-rich, high-performance software drivers and hardware that really showcase the full power of the new Windows operating system|
Having taken a good look at Vista running on a few of AMD's test machines I can certainly say that Vista Aero runs very smoothly on the 690G chipset.
Now another thing AMD were very keen to show was the gaming experience with the 690G chipset. Half Life 2 Lost coast was set up on a couple of PC's at the event. One had Intel GMA graphics and one the 690G chipset. It has to be said that the difference was huge; not so much in framerates, but in actually what the game looked like. The Intel integrated solution looked...to put it bluntly...awful. Other demo's included Sam and Max where the Intel graphics didn't aliase at all and a rather telling aircraft simulator that showed the difference in quality between the graphic chipsets quite markedly.
Another pretty cool thing AMD showcased was the multi-display features of the chipset. Combined with a discrete graphics card a system was setup with 4 monitors, using 2 for the onboard. This was slick, seamless and you could even drag a 720p WMV HD file across all of the screens without hindering performance
As you can see, pretty impressive.
Now I will not go into details and figures but suffice it to say that AMD produced some pretty convincing figures that shows the 690G chipset as the market leader right now for an integrated solution. Also highlighted was the lack of decent game support for Intel Integrated graphics, whereas the AMD chipset supports all recent games.
Performance at a price
Well how much exactly are we going to pay for this excellent tech? AMD say that the boards should start being available at around the $80 mark. Now unless I'm missing a trick the UK hasn't seen the arrival of these boards, but I would expect that to convert to around £55 depending on vendor and extra features. To me that sounds pretty damn awesome, especially with the low-low price of AM2 processors. AMD's calculations made them $30 cheaper than an Intel solution (E6400 + Intel G965 vs AMD 690G + X2 5200+).
It all comes back to what we have said before - the core idea AMD are striving towards in everything they do:
"Performance per-watt per-dollar".
Certainly that's some fine performance.
Read on on the next page...