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Meanwhile ATI Technologies and Nvidia Corp., both leading suppliers of standalone graphics processors, are doing their best to introduce high-performance graphics processing units that are compliant with DirectX 10 next-generation application programming interface, Intel Corp., who is leading supplier of built-in graphics cores, may introduce a cost-effective solution that boasts with at least some DirectX 10 capabilities already this year.

Several slides, which presumably come from a roadmap of Intel Corp., that have been published over HKEPC web-site suggest that Intel’s forthcoming G965 chipset will have a built-in graphics core that not only supports DirectX 9.0 shader model 3.0, but also will have DirectX 10 shader model 4.0 functionality. In case the information is correct, this may be the first time for Intel Corp. to offer the latest multimedia functionality with its integrated graphics cores.

The Intel G965 graphics core will have relatively powerful support for 3D technologies in general: it will have improved early Z technology which reduces the load on memory bandwidth, it will support 16x anisotropic filtering, 32-bit precision floating point precision calculations and so on. As reported previously, it will also have hardware decoding of WMV9b HD high-definition video streams. In addition, the new integrated graphics core from the world’s largest chipmaker will provide HDMI output. It is unclear whether the new graphics core will support HDCP encryption as well.

Leading 3D functionality support not only means some benefits for Intel Corp., but poses some danger to suppliers of standalone graphics processors for add-in cards or mobile computers, primarily such companies as ATI Technologies, Nvidia Corp. and S3 Graphics. Usually separate graphics cards cost from $70 to $650, but while built-in cores cannot provide as many benefits and performance of a high-end graphics cards, users who are getting low-end board do not care much about performance, but take into account support for some latest capabilities, such as media playback. With advanced graphics core that sports forthcoming application programming interface (API) Intel may take some market from entry-level graphics cards, provided that Intel is able to supply its new chipsets in quantities.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

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