AMD Readies Windows 7-Friendly Chipset

AMD will begin shipping its newest chipset, the 785G, to OEM partners today. The 785G is the foundation chipset for AMD’s Windows 7 offerings, and is tuned to take advantage of some of the features in Microsoft’s forthcoming operating system.

This is AMD’s first integrated graphics processor (IGP) to support DirectX 10.1 (the latest version of Microsoft’s multimedia library), and is the first IGP with 10.1 support. nVidia has a 10.1 IGP in the form of its GeForce GTS 250M.

Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), which has an overwhelming chunk of the IGP market, has yet to release a DirectX 10 IGP chipset. DirectX 10 was released in 2007 with Windows Vista.

“We look at the update of this chipset as not a huge evolutionary change in chipsets. We added in a couple of new features but primarily added in the graphics core and added in a couple of new features we wanted for Windows 7,” Brent Barry, desktop brand manager for AMD told

There is a newer version of the library called DirectX 11 that comes with Windows 7. Support for DirectX 11 will come via discrete graphics processors on add-in boards from both ATI and nVidia. There’s no great rush, however, as it will be some time before DirectX 11 games and other applications hit the market.

High performance graphics support & energy efficiency

Between the DirectX 10.1, HDMI 1.3, Stream and UVD 2 support, the IGP has a pretty good amount of high performance graphics support, allowing for faster video transcoding, high definition decoding, Blu-ray playback, all while reducing the power draw. It’s also the first AMD IGP to support DisplayPort.

The 785G uses a Radeon HD 4200 core, making it one whole generation above the last IGP set, the 790G. Combined with the new 45nm Athlon II and Phenom II processors, AMD is seeing power reductions by as much as 50 percent in certain applications, Barry said.

“There are more energy efficiency features native in Windows 7. The main thing is throttling and switching on and off the GPU when it’s not being used. Windows 7 is just a better operating system than Vista. It’s doing power management better, along with better memory management and thread management,” he said.

The chipset meets the spec for system builders seeking Energy Star 5.0 compliance, he added.

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