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First Look: AMD's 690 series chipset

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 2 Mar 2007.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    Judging from what's on the back of each of the boards, I think it's one digital and one analogue. The analogue is obviously VGA, while the digital can be either HDMI or DVI.
     
  2. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    We've looked on the board but there's no external chip on either the Asus or MSI board we've got. Considering how long its take and it's A13 (?) rev silicon it should be inbuilt, however, an educated guess is that when licensing HDMI they also have to license HDCP at a cost of per implementation. So two = twice as much, adding an extra dollar to the price of the chipset and two dollars at least to the price of the end product since each individual company using has to have a separate license.

    Two independent outputs, not necessarily digital. The only board ive seen with two digital outputs is the Asus and I dont know if they can be used together or are both HDCP compliant. It's something I will now be asking AMD in the coming week.
    EDIT: Thinking about it, only one HDCP chip was included on the 7900-series that went out of their way to support it, despite all of them sporting two DVI ports.
    If you dont buy a lappy with HDDVD/BRDVD built in, I'd guess that it's 99% likely it wont have HDCP unless you buy something that's G8x/R6x0 series derivative which has it natively. It's an expense ODMs wont bother including since 0.001% of laptop owners will replace their DVD drives for HD ones without replacing their whole laptops.
     
  3. JoeFresco

    JoeFresco What's a Dremel?

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    Well, for the next review, please don't just post 100% useless graphs for a technology. Find a way to at least give one or two decent comparisons so that some judgment can be made. At the moment, there is no reasonable judgment I can make regarding which graphics chipset is better between the R6xx and the X3000, and how much better that chipset might be. This is the disappointment of the current review.
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Well this a first look as opposed to a review, and we only had the board two days before the article was lived. The main underlying part of the article is a showcase for what you can expect on the technology in future products. :)

    Well I can tell you for a start the R6xx will be faster than the X3000, since the R6-series is a discrete graphics processor series. ;) Although you can make comparisons to all our other motherboard reviews that don't use integrated graphics directly. The 2D graphs were there to dictate the difference between using IGP and external graphics, and as you can see there's a clear difference. Why you'd want to run quake or whatever on an IGP is beyond me. NVIDIA has promised us some 6150 boards for comparison and the idea as it stands is that we will concentrate on HTPC testing, rather than gaming performance anyway.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 5 Mar 2007
  5. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    I think the key here is my Source which says and I quote:

    "The GPU supports two independent display outputs, and both DVI and HDMI outputs can be used at the same time. The only caveat is that HDCP will only work over one digital output at a time. This isn't a huge issue, as most people won't be watching two different protected movies at the same time on a single computer. Also, in spite of the single display limitation, HDCP can be used over either HDMI or DVI. This gives the X1250 an advantage over graphics cards that initially supported HDCP. Many cards only allowed HDCP over one HDMI or DVI port while the other was always unprotected only."

    So HDCP over either digital output but not at the same time. If they have 2 cryptoroms built in, one for each digital output then why limit use of hdcp to one output at a time? At first glance you'd say Duh there's one cryptorom that gets "routed" to which ever digital output you choose for protected content but how would that work given the digital outputs are on seperate display controllers and cryptoroms are supposedly licensed per controller?

    This is all related to that quote I gave above so if you could confirm/ask for explanation from AMD that'd be great.

    Interesting. But if the 690 mobile version has HDCP built in then why not use it? Unless they (ODM) as you mentioned have to pay extra over and above the cost of the chipset to licence HDCP? Well that's certainly an interesting topic but what if the internal connection is analog (hence my question of what interface laptops use) in which case as long as studios continue to not implement the Image Constraint Token on discs I wouldn't need HDCP support. I hope I'm starting to make sense in terms of how I'm looking at the situation and why I'm asking what I'm asking. Besides Rich I like to keep you busy :)
     
  6. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    That seems to disagree with the quote from Anandtech I posted above which says that the chipset supports 2 independent digital outputs. Mobo makers are obviously free to not implement both digital outputs but I'm interested in what the chipset supports in total and therefore what's available to mobo makers should they choose to implement them.
     
  7. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Anand are right, I missed the slide where it said both could be used at once. It's kinda moot though since you'll only ever play HDCP content on one monitor anyway and only Asus afaik have included two digital outputs with their board. It's just like any normal graphics card :)

    Keep me busy?? I'm still not half finished with tomorrows work :(:(

    It doesn't seem the M690G will be that different to the desktop 690G so it'll be a digital connection. HDCP might be limited to licensing though, which costs more and probably wont be included if the laptop doesn't have the option of supporting a HDDVD/BR drive, and/or crypto part is optional. If it does have the option then they're more likely to use it since it's built in, so less cost then forking out for a cryptochip.

    The G965 needing external TDMS for digital will always be analogue, since it's cheaper. = eyestrain city.
     
  8. randosome

    randosome Banned

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    the connection to the actual laptop screen is most likely proprietary or something the laptop itself
    On the interface question, i believe that a variation of PCI-E is now in use, but ofc they don't sell laptop VGA upgrades, which they really should <_<

    basically, if you buy a laptop all you can really change is the HDD and Ram, after that and its a big/impossible job
     
  9. JoeFresco

    JoeFresco What's a Dremel?

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    Sorry, I meant to say AMD 690 vs. X3000, not R6xx.
    Most laptops sold use IGPs, and many people game on them casually. You don't have to act elitist about it (FWIW, my laptop has a GF6600 in it). I'm trying to get a feel for what the laptop market is going to look like in 6 months.

    Oh, and the 2D benchmarks you included were crap for comparing graphics. They focused almost exclusively on CPU performance, and whichever CPU was favored by that app (AMD or Intel) was the winner. IGP performance meant almost nothing (biggest difference was 5%).

    A new chipset will rarely have a dramatic impact on CPU performance but could have a dramatic impact on gaming performance. Is this really so hard? Sure, no real gamer uses an IGP on a desktop, but at least it would provide numbers that actually mean something.

    (Yeah, I understand what TWO DAYS means. Surely you didn't have the Intel system for only 2 days, too?)

    P.S. It's statements like this that are disingenuous when the 3D testing was basically a failure: "the RS690 still does far more than the widely used Intel G965 integrated chipset will ever do." You are proclaiming a dramatic "forever" winner here without really testing both sides fairly.
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2007
  10. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    Joe, I think the 2D tests were there to illustrate what impact sharing memory and memory bandwidth has on non gaming applications compared to using a discrete card which has it's own memory (correct me if I'm wrong Rich). I personally found this info VERY useful as I was pleased to see it generally doesn't impact 2D performance by more than as you say 5% (at least when you've got 2GB of system RAM).
     
  11. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    Except that graphics cards traditionally only support HDCP on one of their 2 digital outputs and it will only ever be on that same output where as according to Anandtech the 690G can use it on either, I just wander how they support that and why they limit it to one at a time as mentioned in detail above.

    Something juicy I hope :thumb:

    A key point here seems to revolve around what/if the mobo maker/ODM has to pay extra on top of the cost of the chipset in order to actively "use" the chipset's built in cryptorom


    randosome am I to understand part of your post is to do with the physical connection between the screen and the main body of the laptop (hence your note on VGA upgrades)? If so I'm not interested in that just the interface. Could you point me to any info on this variation of PCI-E you mentioned? This is my most important question. Do laptop's use standard connections be it VGA or DVI or are they proprietary? If the latter then this whole HDCP question will be hard to answer. If they use standard connections however then it might be possible to infer from the mobile chipset's specs what a laptop is using e.g. the G965 not supporting digital suggests the screen would be hooked up via analogue as Rich mentioned
     
  12. JoeFresco

    JoeFresco What's a Dremel?

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    Indeed. But Rich was passing those 2D benchmarks off to me as useful comparisons of IGP performance between Intel and AMD solutions, which they are not. Basically, there are zero effective benchmark comparisons between the two IGPs in this review. Even 3Dmark, as sucky as that is, would be better than nothing at all.
     
  13. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Exactly correct.

    At no point in the comments did I suggest a comparison between Intel and AMD CPUs, but at the same time I cannot shoehorn an AMD 6000+ into an LGA socket. It's NOT a 3D product, it's a 2D product that does video so you can have a nice low profile case and still watch HD-video with AVIVO. 3D scores are moot: you don't recommend an X1300 for gaming, and even that excels onboard performance.. By offering the same basic scores, even in a CPU to CPU comparison you can judge the difference between "best possible scenarios" of platforms with our other reviews. Intel integrated graphics is the most used graphical platform on the planet and yes, we had the G965 XC Cube for quite a while but part the reason we used 6000+/X6800 was that I already had X6800 results so I didn't have to waste time redoing 2D testing, it was an editorial decision.

    We're still waiting on a proper G965 ViiV board and we now have a 945G in too and we're due to get an NVIDIA 6150 in shortly for the next batch.

    We intend to match price of platform more in the future now we have prices of motherboards to go on. Hopefully this will try to help with the IGP:IGP comparison. If the MSI costs £40 you can spend more on the CPU than you can an £80 MSI board. For £200 you can buy a 5000/5200+ and £40 MSI 690G, or £80 MSI ViiV board and E6400, or, the equivalent NV/AMD board.

    I appreciate your feedback and I thank you for taking time to read the preview and give me your input because it means I can adjust it for next time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 6 Mar 2007
  14. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    Going back to the question of dual-link capability the following 2 sources suggest it only supports single-link Anandtech scroll down a bit & Legitreviews scroll down for DVI/HDMI specs. Could you confirm by trying it on the Dell 30incher?

    Also the 2 articles linked above have conflicting info on the HDMI version. Anandtech says 1.3, Legit says 1.2. Conflicting info for this chipset seems to be par for the course :( . The reason I ask is because I'm interested in the idea you mentioned of passing through Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio via the HDMI port which AFAIK is only supported via 1.3.
     
  15. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    As far as we're aware (Rich has been told the same thing), 690G is capable of HDMI 1.3, but it's up to the board vendors and / or driver writers to enable that support.

    The Dell runs just fine at native res on the Asus board.
     
  16. JoeFresco

    JoeFresco What's a Dremel?

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    Rich, I feel like you're missing everything I'm saying. Let me break it down.

    1) There are a LOT of people who play 3D games on integrated graphics. No gamer in their right mind does unless they are desperate, but a lot of people do. Think laptops.

    2) The ONE performance improvement from the 690 chipset and the G965 chips is PRECISELY 3D performance. There is very little else to give performance a boost.

    I'm amazed that you have so little curiosity concerning the 3D performance of IGP. The fact that you are so flippant toward it boggles my mind. I suppose you and your readers will only get the GF7600 or better built into their laptops even if it minds having a $1800 laptop instead of a $1200 (or even $400) one, not counting the price difference.

    Either that, or you're just so desktop focused you haven't noticed laptops outsell desktops.

    Have you ever read "Innovator's Delimma?" Integrated Graphics is a disruptive technology and is worth tracking even if you and I have never used it in one of our primary computers.
     
  17. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Renoir: We've just plugged it into the 30" and it's running 2560 over DVI on the Asus. We've got no HDMI, dual link monitors here, only Plasma and LCD HDTVs that are only 720p atm.

    HDMI 1.3 is only beneficial for the latest HD audio, of which afaik very few movies that support it and even fewer consumer level decoders. For the extra bandwidth, it's a future proofing and I was assured by AMD they supported it, but they wouldn't specifically say whether it was a BIOS or Driver thing and if it was ready right now. Considering the state of IGP drivers currently, I doubt it is enabled at the moment.
     
  18. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    Taking time to test something for some muppet like me in the forums is why I consider this amongst the very best tech sites I've seen :thumb:. Anyway enough of the brown-nosing. I've put a comment in the Anandtech review asking why they have the 690G listed as single-link only so I look forward to their explanation on the matter given your test with the dell 30incher.

    Indeed it's not an issue now but rather something to consider for the future so assuming as they've told you the chipset supports it we'll just have to wait and see what happens with future drivers and playback software.

    p.s. I miss NBS Review that was always a fun listen
     
  19. Renoir

    Renoir What's a Dremel?

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    They have confirmed it's dual-link (so not sure why other sites have said the TMDS's run at 165mhz?) but had this to say:

    "As for the resolution, I am using a Samsung 30" panel and the current Vista drivers limit me to 2048x1536. I have sent a board to Jarred who has the Dell 30" to test on it. AMD still confirms that 2048x1536 is the "current" max resolution although we know the hardware has 2560x1600 capability according to one of our sources."

    Something doesn't add up here. Did you test on Vista or XP? Wouldn't have thought it'd make a difference but just throwing ideas out to try and resolve this discrepancy.

    As for audio over HDMI the boys at Anandtech had this to say:

    "It is two channel plus AC3 over HDMI. That is the final spec on production level boards and drivers." :miffed:

    Hopefully this will change in future drivers if not to allow Dolby TrueHD etc then at least multi-channel LPCM
     
  20. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    We are still testing on XP for the time being, so there would appear to be a limitation with the current Vista drivers.
     
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