The ATi 'RS350' Radeon 9100 IGP PRO is probably the most versatile Pentium 4 chipset
on the market at the moment, since it's compatible with both Socket 478
and Socket 775 Pentium 4 platforms... not on the same motherboard mind you.
While we didn't run into any memory
compatibility problems with the original Radeon 9100 IGP, we heard quite a few complaints
from system integrators that the chipset would only work with the higher end
memory modules. If ATi expect consumer, and more importantly OEM's, to use their
chipset they must have addressed this issue. During our tests with the gigabyte GA-8TRS350MT, we
didn't experience any memory issues, so it should hopefully indicate smoother sailing
on that front.
According to ATi, it has also tweaked the 9100
IGP Pro chipset for a tad more performance (about 3%). Exactly what has
been one isn't stated, but it probably lies with a more efficient memory controller.
TV-Output is now also standard equipment with the Radeon 9100 IGP PRO.
Along side the Radeon 9100IGP
Pro is ATIs IXP 300 Southbridge. In the last revision of the 9100IGP PCStats tested,
the IXP 250 was utilized. The new 'SB300' natively supports Serial ATA, as well as RAID modes 0
and 1 (for Serial ATA only) thanks to an integrated SiS964 chip.
The company has applied a
3com 10/100 MAC into the southbridge for LAN support, though we're left wondering why ATI
didn't just opt for gigabit Ethernet from the start. The 9100IGP is a value-oriented (read middle to low
end) chipset, so the cost of Gigabit is left to the motherboard manufacturer to build in.
If a manufacturer does decide to include Gigabit ethernet, it will not run on the
PCI bus like the Intel CSA solution, but rather on its own pipe on the 266MB/s
A-Link between the North and Southbridge chips. See the block chart above.
Fans of ATIs Surroundview tri-monitor feature will be
happy to hear that it's still applicable to the Radeon 9100 IGP PRO. You'll need to install a Radeon 9000-9800 videocard in
the free AGP slot first, however.