Grantsdale DX9 support limited to pixel shader only

Geometry offloaded onto the CPU


IDF The integrated graphics component of Grantsdale, Intel's upcoming mainstream Pentium 4 desktop chipset, supports only half of DirectX 9's key shader functionality, it emerged today.

Intel revealed earlier this week that Grantsdale's integrated graphics core will support DirectX 9's Pixel Shader 2.0 specification. However, Desktop Products Group chipset marketing director Bill Leszinske today confirmed that the core does not provide Vertex Shader functionality. Geometry processing will be handled by the CPU, he said.

The graphics engine - which will almost certainly be branded Extreme Graphics 3 - contains four parallel pixel processing pipelines, the chip maker revealed today. It also supports up to 128MB of shared SDRAM.

While its support for dual independent displays was confirmed by Intel earlier this week, the company today said Grantsdale will automatically adjust the display resolution to match the capabilities of the screen to which it has been connected.ola

The system automatically detects what kind of monitor it's connected to and synchronises accordingly, Leszinske said. Grantsdale supports CRTs, LCDs, TVs and HD TVs - indeed, its integrated graphics component has been optimised for HD playback, he added.

This auto-sensing feature extends to the chipset's HD Audio sub-system, which can tell whether a particular audio jack has been hooked up to speakers or a microphone. The HD Audio circuitry tests the impedance of the connected device and automatically configures the port as a line in or line out, microphone or 'phone socket. The user can also specify the role of each socket in software.

HD Audio supports sample rates of up to 192kHz, 24-bit digitisation and up to eight channels. It can also handle THX, dts and Dolby Digital Surround sound. Multiple audio sources can be streamed to different devices simultaneously.

Grantsdale itself support both DDR and DDR 2 memory, for now up to 533MHz, in dual-channel configurations. The chipset will operate with 800MHz FSB Pentium 4s, but it can also work with a 533MHz bus. Leszinske said that 400MHz FSB support was not part of the chipset's specification.

It supports up to eight USB 2.0 ports and four Serial ATA drives with RAID 0 and 1. Legacy port support is there too, along with a single dual-device ATA-133 bus. Grantsdale's ICH6 South Bridge provides four PCI Express slots for add-in cards, while the North Bridge can talk to a graphics card via a PCI Express x16 slot.

At least one member of the Grantsdale family will ship without integrated graphics, and its high-end sibling, Alderwood won't either. Alderwood offers the same feature set as Grantsdale, but additionally provides a foundation for Extreme Edition CPUs and offers "enhanced memory pipelining" and lower memory latency, Intel said.

Leszinske would not comment on pricing. However, he confirmed that the chipsets would support the upcoming Tejas processor - the successor to Prescott - and the 775-pin LGA connection scheme. ®

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