Last year AMD introduced the flagship 790 Chipset series as part of their Spider Platform for use with the Phenom processors and Radeon HD 3800 graphics. Until earlier this month when AMD introduced the 780 Series, missing was any chipset with integrated graphics capabilities supporting these first AMD quad-core processors. Now we have AMD's 780G and 780V Chipsets, which are designed to be the mainstream solutions to the 790FX, but they pack the best integrated graphics processor (IGP) ever created by the combined ATI/AMD engineering talent. Since its launch at the CeBIT trade show, the AMD 780G has received rave reviews for its vehement performance due to its graphics core that's derived from the AMD RV610. The benchmarks available on launch day were only for Microsoft Windows operating systems, but this morning we have the Radeon HD 3200 Linux results from the AMD 780G. Is this IGP a crown jewel on Linux?
The AMD 780G Chipset is marketed as "The first AMD chipset that enables everyday computer users to play the latest games with no extra graphics card. The first AMD chipset that delivers a full HD cinematic experience. The first AMD chipset that powers a green PC." This IGP is slated to be three times faster than the Intel's flagship X3500 (G35) Chipset. The 780G IGP is part of the Radeon HD 3200 series, but its design is based upon the Radeon HD 2400 (RV610) discrete graphics processor. Some of its capabilities include Hybrid Graphics, UVD (Unified Video Decoder), Microsoft DirectX 10.0, OverDrive support, 40 stream processors, and utilizes PowerXpress (on the mobile version) and PowerPlay technologies. As we talked about in an earlier article, Hybrid Graphics is similar to ATI CrossFire but instead of splitting the rendering workload between two discrete GPUs, it's done between one PCI-E GPU and the 780G IGP. The 780V (Radeon HD 3100) lacks support for Hybrid Graphics. The 780 Chipsets eliminate the 2D engine and the next iteration of AMD integrated graphics processors will eliminate any emulation support of the 2D command processor (CP) calls (AMD at FOSDEM 2008).
As far as display connectors go, the 780G supports dual display outputs and motherboard vendors can choose between HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, and standard VGA. Motherboard vendors may also opt for Display Cache, which is a dedicated frame-buffer on the motherboard ranging in size from 32MB to 256MB and separate from the system memory. This chipset's transistor count is at 205 million and this is the world's first motherboard chipset produced on a 55nm process. AMD plans to deliver a mobile version of the 780G (the M780G/RS780M) later this year as part of their Puma platform. While not being tested today, the AMD 780V Chipset is the lower-end 780 Series model with Radeon HD 3100 graphics.
Aside from these elevated graphics capabilities, the 780G boasts support for 12 USB 2.0 ports, six Serial ATA ports (with eSATA capabilities), and 26 PCI Express 2.0 lanes. Linking the 780G to the AMD Phenom or Athlon processor is HyperTransport 3.0. The AMD 780V/780G is currently paired with the SB700, while the SB750 will arrive later this year.