As an enthusiast, I can't think of many things I detest worse than onboard graphics. I mean really, what bigger compromise can you think of than integrated graphics? Yet, both AMD's and nVidia's flagship AM2+ chipsets sport onboard graphics processors. Huh? But thinking back on something I read in a PC publication when the dual-core CPU was brand new, AMD even then was thinking about integrated graphics, some of their future plans were of a tri-core CPU with onboard GPU.
But these integrated graphics aren't the boring ol' onboard junk we're accustomed to. Both are part of a greater technology, known as ATI Hybrid Graphics, and nVidia's Hybrid SLI. Both are designed to use the onboard GPU, known as the motherboard GPU or mGPU by nVidia, and the integrated GPU or IGP by AMD, for lower level graphics, and to boost the performance of the video card, known as the "discreet GPU" by both manufacturers.
Earlier this year, AMD released the 780G chipset. It featured integrated ATI 3200 graphics, which were the fastest integrated graphics found on a motherboard, and also had the capabilities of Hybrid Graphics. The 3200 also featured full Blu-ray decode acceleration allowing for 1080p playback with minimum CPU usage.
This chipset was so successful that AMD decided to design a new chipset based on it, giving it a higher clock speed, sideport memory, and upgrade to ATI 3300 integrated graphics. Along with the new NB, AMD has also built a new Southbridge, known as the SB750, which not only adds RAID5, but has added a new feature called Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC), that AMD claims will allow much higher overclocking of the Phenom CPU. Will ASRock's version of the 790GX, in the AOD790GX/128M, be a winner? Read on to see!
The AOD790GX/128M comes in ASRock's typical box, the only difference from my earlier ASRock boards is the box is primarily green instead of black. On the front are some icons denoting features, on the rear are explanations of ACC, ASRock's Duracaps, and the Side Port Memory. Also on the rear are awards given to ASRock products from different publications and websites. Ahem, including two by ThinkComputers.org.
Open the box, and we find the bundle separated from the motherboard by a cardboard divider, and the motherboard in an anti-static sleeve, and backed by a sheet of foam.