Intel's G965 Express chipset
Resistance is futile
AS AMD AND NVIDIA
trade blows in a seemingly perpetual but always animated battle for graphics dominance, it's easy to forget that the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner still commands the lion's share of the market. This unlikely king of the jungle has risen to power not on the strength of ultra-high-end GPUs strapped to elaborate cooling systems, nor on the back of popular mid-range products that offer unparalleled value for money. No, it's the ubiquity of Intel's integrated graphics chipsets that have allowed it to carve out the largest share of the desktop graphics market.
The latest addition to Intel's integrated graphics arsenal is the Graphics Media Accelerator X3000, which can be found in the company's G965 Express chipset. This isn't your average integrated graphics core, though. Intel went all out with the X3000, crafting a graphics core with a unified shader architecture that sports eight Shader Model 3.0-compliant scalar execution units and a blistering 667MHz clock speed. Combine that with a Clear Video processing engine and support for HDMI output with HDCP, and you have quite an attractive graphics proposition for budget systems.
Can the X3000-equipped G965 Express hold its own against competing chipsets from AMD and Nvidia? Has Intel produced its first truly competitive integrated graphics core? Read on to find out.