That integrated graphic card is actually one of the strongest features of the XPRESS 200 chipset. The nForce 4 lacks integrated graphics, and the only other integrated chipset for PCI-Express is Intel’s 915G. If we compare the XPRESS 200G to the Intel 915G it is clear that ATI not only offers full DirectX 9.0 support but also uses a local frame buffer, sporting up to 128MB of memory. This gives the XPRESS 200 a significant edge in performance and features, easily outperforming the 915G by a factor of two. This, in our opinion, also negates the need for a PCI-Express x16 slot, as this level of performance is more than adequate for any office PC, paving the way for low-cost, entry level motherboards for entry-level and office PCs. Combined with a low-cost AMD processor this is an excellent alternative to the somewhat overpriced socket-775 processors and i915G motherboards.
The IXP400 southbridge, offering 8 USB2.0 ports, Serial-Ata with RAID0 and 1.
The other features of the XPRESS 200 chipset follow suit with what is to be expected from a modern motherboard; USB 2.0, Serial-ATA, AC-97 audio is all supported, as is Serial-Ata RAID1 and 0 functionality. Due to the native PCI-Express support any number of slots can be configured, using the 20 PCI-Express lanes available. Most motherboard manufacturers will however opt for an x16 slot and two x1 slots as we’ve seen from other PCI-Express motherboards. What’s clear is that in theory ATI is also able to offer two x8 slots and a solution much like NVIDIA’s SLI. We asked about ATI’s plans for such a feature and they were quick to comment that a solution which supports two PCI-Express graphic cards is being worked on but no details were given as how they would approach this exactly.
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