Gigabyte MA69GM-S2H Motherboard Review - AMD690 Update
The AMD 690 Chipset Gets Updated
AMD 690 Chipset - Back Again
A few months ago, AMD released its first new chipset in years in partnership with their newly acquired partner, ATI. The chipset combined a base-level integrated graphics core based on the Radeon X1000 series of GPUs and even HD playback to bring a new IGP solution to the AMD AM2 platform.
This month, AMD and their motherboard partners are releasing an update to the chipset in form of improved overclocking ability and better HD decoding performance. By simply tweaking the BIOS and making some driver enhancements AMD is hoping to make the AMD 690G chipset more appealing to potential users.
We'll cover the improved overclocking ability in our BIOS features section a bit later, but I'll describe what AMD is doing on the HD playback front here. While the integrated graphics core on the AMD 690 chipset doesn't have any of the UVD features that we saw introduced on the Radeon HD 2000 series, AMD is claiming that their chipset coupled with an adequately fast processor can now playback 1080p content smoothly. The phrase "adequately fast processor" should be clarified some:
X2 CPU Speed
Basically, you can see that you'll need a decent speed Athlon X2 processor to get the highest quality, H.264 encoded video (including latest Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs) to playback smoothly. It's not surprising to see that the move from Windows XP to Windows Vista will cost you another 1 GB of memory minimum.
Since the on-board graphics core on the AMD 690G doesn't have any HD decode features on it, I am curious if these decode requirements would apply to other AMD-platform chipsets. In other words, what does the AMD 690 chipset actually do in this case? AMD is claiming that they have tweaked the communication between the IGP and CPU in order to increase performance for video processing as well as gaming. The benefit of this configuration though is that you don't need a discrete graphics card from either AMD or NVIDIA in order to watch HD video on your PC -- that means lower power consumption and lower price.
Motherboard Specifications (from Gigabyte's USA Website)
|Internal I/O Connectors|
|Rear Panel I/O|