AMD's 690G/V Series Chipset Preview And Performance Testing

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With no major processor architecture updates in the immediate future and their DX10-capable graphics solutions still a few months away, the new AMD seems to be slowly picking up slack as we roll through the first two thirds of Q1 '07.  Today, AMD is officially introducing their first new chipset since the ATI acquisition, the AMD 690G/V Series.  Comprised of an RS690 Northbridge and SB600 Southbridge, the 690 series chipset's goal is to provide a full-featured motherboard backed by a solid integrated graphics solution, thanks to an integrated ATI Radeon x1250 with AVIVO support.  What makes the 690G unique, at this point, is its support for VGA and DVI or HDMI, depending on the model, which enables the chipset to be attractive to both business and multimedia users looking for a quality video experience.  With its integrated Radeon x1250 clocked at 400MHz and the ability to share up to 1GB of system memory, AMD looks to provide a versatile board that can fill a multitude of needs at a competitive price point.

The AMD 690G/V Series Chipset
Features and Specifications
CPU Support:
-AMD Sempron, AMD Athlon 64, AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core and AMD Athlon 64 FX

PCI Express Interface:
-1 - x16 Graphics
-4 - x1 PCI Express links

2D Acceleration Features:
-Highly optimized 128-bit engine, capable of processing multiple pixels per clock.
-Supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 @ 32bpp
-Game Acceleration including support for Microsoft's DirectDraw

3D Acceleration Features:
-Full DirectX 9.0 support
-3D Texture support, including projective 3D textures
-Anti-aliasing using multi-sampling algorithm with support for 2, 4 and 6 samples
-New generation rendering engine provides top 3D performance
-Support for OpenGL format for Indirect Vertices in Vertex Walker

Motion Video Acceleration Features:
-Enhanced MPEG-2 hardware decode acceleration
-MPEG-4 decode support
-Hardware acceleration for WMV9 playback
-Supports top quality DVD and time-shifted SDTV/HDTV television playback with low CPU usage

TV Out:
-Integrated TV encoder from ATI's Xilleon products with on-chip -DAC with integrated AVIVO engine
-Supports Macrovision 7.1 copy protection standard (required by DVD players)
-Supports the formats of YPbPr component out

SurroundView:
-SurroundView feature allows support for up to three independent monitors for systems equipped with an additional ATI discrete graphics card
Multiple Display Features:
-Dual Independent displays including two digital outputs
-Resolution, refresh rates, and display rates can be completely independent for the two display paths
-Both display controllers support true 30 bits per pixel throughout the display pipe
-Supports both interlaced and non-interlaced displays
Integrated HD Audio controller for HDMI audio data

Display Support:
-Supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 @ 32bpp

DVI/HDMI:
-Supports a TMDS interface, enabling DVI or HDMI 1.2
-1650 Mbps/channel with 165MHz pixel clock rate per link
-HDCP 1.1 support on data stream with on-chip key storage
-Supports HDMI audio together with Realtek's driver providing single control for user on all audio adjustments
-Supports HDMI audio enhancements, such as equalizer, 5.1 channel, surround sound effect, karaoke and head phone virtualization

Universal Connectivity:
-A-Link Xpress II i/f to AMD Northbridges; providing high bandwidth for high speed peripherals
-10 USB 2.0 ports
-SATA Gen 2 PHY support at 3.0Gb/sec bandwidth
-4 ports SATA AHCI controller supports NCQ and slumber modes
-ATA 133 controller supports up to UDMA mode 6 with two drives (disk or optical)
-HPET (high precision event timer), ACPI 3.0 and AHCI support for Windows Vista
-UAA (Universal audio architecture) support for High Definition Audio and MODEM
-PCI v2.3 (up to 6 slots)
-LPC (Low Pin Count), SPI (New Flash Bus), and SM (System Management) bus management and arbitrations
-"Legacy" PC compatible functions, RTC (Real Time Clock), interrupt controller and DMA controller

Today we are going to size up the new 690G series from head-to-toe, giving an overview of its feature-set as well as providing a broad range of benchmark results, in an attempt to see just how well the new 690G compares to its main competition.  In our tests, we will compare performance to two systems based on NVIDIA's nForce 430 chipset, one geared for 3D performance, the other for a better a multimedia experience. 

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