Another year another IGP refresh, this time around Nvidia gets in on the fun with their new MCP7a chipset. ECS’ GF9300TA Motherboard makes good use of the new chip as Guru3D can attest to. Interesting read:
So why is this integrated GPU interesting you might wonder. Well, for a multitude of reasons … say you want to build a home theater PC which needs to decode Blu-ray(VC-1, H.264, MPEG-2) movies; you can use the integrated GPU for Purevideo HD. And it’s really good at it as well. For example, I hooked up my HD-DVD (Yeah I know… money well spend right?) and then we quality tested with HQV-HD. We got a a perfect score (128) returned. Meaning, the integrated GPU can not only decode HD bit streams, but also accelerate and enhance the content. This a very big plus and downright interesting for HTPC users as literally, mainboards like these only require some memory, PSU, HDD, chassis and a processor. And then you are good to go. Speaking of HTPCs, these motherboards can come with Display Port connector, HDMI (HDCP), DVI… and the good news here… they are dual-link DVI, and thus support high-resolution screens. Very nice. Connectivity obviously differs per manufacturer.
Another less exciting GPU feature is hybrid graphics, something as far as I’m concerned NVIDIA can stop developing at this performance level. The overall performance of the GPU in modern games is poor, really. Now you can match up the IGP (GeForce 9300) with a similar dedicated card to increase performance. The result… still a solution which is slow. My bet is that you’ll end up buying a faster dedicated graphics adapter anyway, so the entire hybrid SLI thing then is just not doing it for me personally, I feel it’s like riding a bike with two flat tires.
Multimedia friendly IGPs seem to be all the rage nowadays, all the better to play your Blu-rays with am I right?