Asus P5LD2-VM Motherboard Review :: Onboard Graphics, the GMA950

11-02-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

Asus P5LD2-VM Motherboard Review

Intel has traditionally used graphics cores of their own devising with their motherboard chipsets. The graphics core of the Intel 845 chipset family was noted for its lack of Hardware Transformation and Lighting support. Without this key feature, the 845G was relegated to many problems with games as found on Intel's compatibility list for the chipset.

Last year Intel released the LGA-775 platform with a new graphics core to drive the integrated market, the GMA900. Key features of the GMA900 include support for DirectX 9.0 Pixel and Vertex Shaders 2.0, four pixel pipelines, a 333MHz clock speed and more. With the release of the 945G chipset, Intel improved their core a little with the GMA950. The clock speed of the 950 is 400 instead of 333MHz, making for a maximum fill rate of 1.6Gigapixels a second, and memory bandwidth up to 10.6GB/second.

The ASUS board assigns from 1MB-8MB to the graphics. The maximum memory the motherboard can use for the onboard graphics is only 64MB. This caused 3DMark05 to run out of memory when running it at the default resolution of 1024x768 32-bit. GMA950 is great for business users that don't want or need to play games on their computer.

For the gamer, the GMA950 is less suited. Intel has a "Game Compatibility List" on their website listing many recent games and possible problems with the games and Intel graphics solutions. The GMA950 has problems with games like Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II , Painkiller, Half Life 2 and more. Most of the problems have to do with the total lack of HW T+L support, but some games like HL2 Intel reports choppiness or low frame rate, due to the requirements of the game.