Information on Intel's next-generation Atom platform codenamed "Cedar Trail" has started to leak out, and not all of it is good news.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the next batch of Atom processors still won't support DirectX 11 graphics, not unless Intel is planning to make a surprise announcement at the last minute. Cedar Trail D (for Desktop) and Cedar Trail M (for Mobile) will support DirectX 10.1, however, with a core that will look somewhat similar to Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge part.
More importantly, early indications suggest that the new Atom chips will have enough horsepower under the hood to handle Full HD decoding and hardware acceleration for MPEG2, VC1, ACV, and H.264. Cedar Trail will also support the Blu-ray 2.0 profile, which includes picture-in-picture functionality and some online goodies.
VIA this week announced its new VN1000 digital media chipset, which the company claims is the "world's most power efficient DX10.1 chipset" on the planet.
Providing the DirectX 10.1 graphics is VIA's Chrome 520 IGP, which boasts the same traits as the Chrome 500-series, such as a 500MHz GPU and 32 stream processors. It also supports Shader Model 4, OpenGL 3.0, and OpenCL 1.0.
VIA says its high-performance ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor also offers advanced filter and "ultra smooth decoding" of MPEG-4/AVC, H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV-HD, and AVS video for Blu-ray content.
"The VIA VN1000 leverages our optimized VIA Nano 3000 Series processors, creating the most balanced, power-efficient, multimedia-focused desktop platform on the market today," said Richard Brown, VP International Marketing, VIA. "Supporting the latest system memory, graphics, and entertainment standards, the VIA VN1000 takes the VIA processor platform to new heights of power-efficient visual sophistication."
Other features include support for DDR3 memory at speeds up to 1066MHz, a single x8 and four x1 PCI-E lanes, up to ficve PCI slots, and 8-channel audio.
At long last, Nvidia may finally adding DirectX 10.1 support to its videocards, assuming Fudzilla is right on the money. According to the news and rumor site, Nvidia's GT200 will be refreshed to a 40nm manufacturing process and the new chips will sport DX10.1.
To date, ATI has been the only one to offer DX10.1 support on some of its videocards (yes, we're completely ignoring S3's Chrome series), a minor extension to DX10 that thus far hasn't meant much for gamers. To to fuel the conspiracy flames, that could change with Nvidia jumping on board. Remember that DX10.1 instructions did at one point show a performance boost on ATI cards in Assassin's Creed, but after a patch removed support for the instruction set, some accused Ubisoft of bowing to pressure from Nvidia after the GPU maker sponsored the title with its The Way It's Meant To Be Played program.
In any event, it looks like refresh will come on the tail end of summer or early fall.
S3 Graphics, a subsidiary of VIA and a player in the low end graphics market, has launched its next generation Chrome 500 series. S3 claims its new add-in cards offer up to a 30 percent performance increase while supporting Blu-ray playback, streaming HD video, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.0 on both Windows and Linux operating systems.
"S3 Graphics has built upon the success of the Chrome 400 Series with another GPU line that fulfills user demand of a superior visual experience and product that extends beyond just graphics," said Dr. Ken Weng, GM for S3 Graphics. "Our latest Chrome 500 supports features that surpass those found in higher end products, like high quality HD video support. This truly is a power-efficient multimedia / multi-application processor that delivers."
S3's Chrome 530 GT is the first videocad to market from the new Chrome 500 series. The upgraded GPU makes a strong bid for HTPC enthusiasts with support for PiP Blu-ray playback, HDCP capable DVI-I and HDMI ports, and a low power draw rated at just 25W.
The Chrome 530 GT is available now direct from S3 Graphics for $45 and comes bundled with InterVideo WinDVD 8.