AMD Introduces Hybrid CrossFire – Budget Gaming

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SidePort and Final Thoughts

AMD Hybrid CrossFire with 780G and Radeon HD 3450

In-between the 780G chipset (code name RS780) and the processor heat sink one can spot the SidePort memory chip. This is nothing more that local frame buffer attached to what ATI refers to as their ‘SidePort’. The SidePort is a 32-bit DDR memory interface that the integrated graphics can use either instead of or alongside the processors memory controller. The memory capacity can be between 16MB and 128MB, which is said to improve graphics performance where memory usage is high by nearly 5-10% depending on the game. Not all motherboards will have this as it will add some cost, but it seems worth it if you plan on gaming with integrated graphics.

AMD has also been working on power consumption with their platforms and were happy to report that the Wattage on the 780G should be below 20W at all times.  While playing a game with full blown graphics one could expect the chipset to be drawing 15-16W, but at a low power idle state it consumes just 2 Watts! AMD has multiple power states thanks to PowerXpress.  Basically AMD is using their mobile power technology on the desktop and is able to shut down PCI Express lanes and lower the HT speeds to drop the power way down.  

AMD Hybrid CrossFire with 780G and Radeon HD 3450

If you are interested in Hybrid CrossFire you will have to wait a bit as it is slated to be released in the first half of 2008. The Radeon 3400 series video cards will be released first and then the motherboards will be coming out later.  It will be interesting to see how much better performance gets with mature drivers. In closing here is a shot of one of the test systems that better shows the reference 780G motherboard.

AMD Hybrid CrossFire with 780G and Radeon HD 3450

Those of you with a good eye might have noticed that the SB700 south bridge supports six SATA II ports for RAID in versions 0, 1 and 10. The six SATA connectors on the reference board can be seen above.  If that doesn’t impress you, maybe the 12 USB 2.0, two USB 1.1, PATA and PCI ports will.  It looks like AMD has some interesting things planned for 2008 and this is obviously one step closer to Fusion!

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