Soyo SY-P4RS350 Review :: RS350 Chipset

07-12-2004 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Soyo SY-P4RS350 Review

Features

  • Up to 800 MHz CPU FSB for Intel Pentium 4 Processor
  • Supports Intel Hyper-Threading processors
  • In-Order Queue (IOQ) depth of 12
  • Supports Dynamic Bus Inversion (DBI)
  • Supports system bus interrupt delivery
  • System Logic Features
  • Integrated master clock generator with spread spectrum support
  • AGP 3.0 compliant AGP 8X interface with Fast Write support
  • 266MB/second point-to-point interface to ATI IXP in A-Link mode
  • Unified Memory Architecture (UMA)
  • Dual channel 128-bit DDR SDRAM memory interface
  • DDR400 SDRAM support provides up to 6.4 GB/second bandwidth
  • Up to 4 GB DRAM support with two unbuffered DIMMs
  • 16 MB to 128 MB of main memory configurable as display memory
  • Up to 8 USB2.0 ports
  • Up to 2 SATA ports
  • Two independent IDE channels with support of mode 0 to 4, and ATA 100
  • Supports LPC based Super I/O
  • Integrated 3-COM Ethernet controller

3D Graphics Features

Soyo SY-P4RS350 Review
  • HyperZ memory optimization technology
  • Hardware with Pixel Shader 1.4 support
  • Supports up to 2048x1536 @ 32bpp.
  • Supports 3D textures and Microsoft DirectX texture compression
  • Anisotropic texture filtering and Full Screen Anti-Aliasing (FSAA)

Video Features

  • Video scaling and filtering with advanced 4-tap horizontal and vertical filter
  • Integrated hardware motion compensation and iDCT
  • Enhanced MPEG-2 hardware decode
  • Hardware DVD sub-picture decode
  • Video deblocking with FULLSTREAM

2D Graphics Features

  • Highly optimized 128-bit 2D Engine
  • Hardware cursor up to 64x64x32 BPP
  • Supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 @ 32bpp.
  • Support for Microsoft Windows XP alpha cursor

Display Controller

  • Dual CRT controllers provide independent dual display support
  • Display rotation support
  • Comprehensive DDC and hot plugging support
  • Integrated high precision 300MHz triple 10-bit DAC supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1536

Flat Panel Monitor Support

  • 12-bit digital output to support DVI, DFP and VESA P&D via external TMDS
  • Supports up to 1600x1200 screen resolution for LCD panels
  • Support for VESA defined reduced blanking modes

TV-Out Support

  • Integrated TV encoder with composite, S-Video, and RGB interfaces
  • Supports PAL/NTSC TV formats
  • 10-bit DAC with 8-tap filter and ATI-exclusive enhancements
  • Macrovision 7.02 copy protection standard
  • Supports up to 1024x768 32bpp mode

Optimized Software Support

  • Microsoft DirectX 8.1 and OpenGL drivers
  • Unified driver support for all RADEON discrete and integrated graphics products
  • Support for Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Linux
Soyo SY-P4RS350 Review

The new RS350 chipset is named the RADEON 9100 IGP Pro chipset. Last year, ATI released the RADEON IGP 9100 (RS300) to good acclaim. I enjoyed the chipset immensely as it was the first integrated graphics chip to fully support DirectX 8.1 Pixel and Vertex Shaders. Today that chip is joined by the RADEON 9100 IGP Pro (RS350) and the RADEON 9000 IGP Pro (RC350). The board that I'm reviewing here in this review is a RS350 board from SOYO.

The chipset supports all current Socket 478 Pentium 4 CPUs up to and including the latest P4 3.4E Prescott CPUs and P4 3.4 Extreme Edition CPUs. The chipset also apparently supports the Socket 775 platform once the CPUs actually hit the streets and the motherboard manufacturers' release boards based upon the RS350 chipset with the new Socket.

Memory support on the platform is up to 4 GB of unbuffered non-ECC DDR memory. The motherboard manufacturers will either offer 2 DIMMs or 4 DIMMs in their motherboards (Dual In-line Memory Modules). The RS350 chipset supports dual channel memory mode which gives a maximum of 6.4 GB/second of memory bandwidth. This is found by multiplying 200 MHzx128bitx2 and dividing by 8 (8 bits/byte). This should serve the RS350 integrated graphics well.

One nice feature of the new IXP320 platform is that ATI included support for 8 USB 2.0 ports in the chipset as well as support for up to 2 SATA hard disk drives in their enhanced IXP320 SouthBridge. The previous 9100 IGP chipset supported 6 USB 2.0 ports and no SATA devices. This brings ATI's new chipset inline with Intel and their 875/865 chipset in terms of USB port support.

The RS350 integrated graphics is a modified version of the RADEON 9000 video card first introduced in 2002. The core clock speed of the chip is 300 MHz giving a maximum fill rate of 600 megapixels per second because of the dual pixel pipelines found on the integrated graphics. The RS300 chipset came with the same core clock speed offering similar performance to the previous integrated graphics. This is the best ATI included support for independent dual displays allowing motherboard manufacturers to give a value added bonus of two monitor support on the motherboard without an additional add-in video card.

The RS350 supports all of the DirectX 8.1 features you would want in an integrated graphics platform. Pixel Shaders are showing up in every game released today. While the Intel integrated platform has recently moved to DirectX 9.0 support of Pixel Shaders, there honestly are very few good DirectX9 games out today. Most game developers still develop with DirectX 8.0 or 8.1 in mind, as the installed base of DirectX 9.0 video cards is still small. The RS350 supports up to 22 pixel shader instructions in a pass. A pixel shader is a small program performed on a pixel to give special effects such as beautiful water found in games like Morrowind and Far Cry. Sadly, pixel shaders are mainly used only for that beautiful water in games.

So much more can be done like shiny reflective armor and coloration like in NVIDIA's Chameleon demo of a couple of years ago. Vertex Shader support is version 1.1. The RS350 is capable of 128 VS instructions in a single pass. Vertex Shaders can be used to show off deformation, cloth, and matrix palette skinning which gives flexible joints in character arms. You can also use vertex shaders to show realistic facial animation. The RS350 can use anywhere from 16 MB to 128 MB for integrated graphics, set in the BIOS. Modern games have a lot of textures and can easily fill the up to 128 MB frame buffer. Of course if you want to play games with real high settings and effects, add a X800 Pro to the arsenal and you're good to go. The nice thing about the RS350 is that motherboards based upon this chipset are relatively inexpensive and most of them include a AGP 3.0 compliant slot as well as the integrated graphics.