While NVIDIA have been having much public success with their nForce chipset series, you may have missed ATI's initial foray into the integrated market. Radeon IGP340 was released some time ago now, and was met with what appears to be very little success. As a desktop part, IGP340 was always destined never to get much in the way of enthusiast support being limited to only a single channel DDR memory bus. However, where IGP340 failed as a desktop part it had the opposite effect on the mobile space, capturing 50% of the integrated mobile sector.

Today, however, ATI are introducing their latest venture into the integrated chipset market with RS300 and RS300M, otherwise known as Radeon 9100 IGP and Mobility Radeon 9100 IGP. While ATI are still pitching these firmly as value oriented parts, they are making attempts to bring the value market up a notch in terms of system performance, and vastly accelerate integrated graphics performance in the Intel sector.

Gaming Ghetto

ATI sees that there is a problem with the PC industry at the moment, that is giving rise to a large hole in the market, that ATI term as the "Gaming Ghetto"

Over the past few years the largest growth sector in the PC industry is that of the Value PC - i.e. the low end PC's that retails for as little a $500. To meet these low end costs usually the PC's utilise as much integration as possible, which often means integrated graphics are also utilised such that the extra costs of a discrete graphics board is not required as well. As evidenced by Intel's second place in the overall graphics market share, Intel have obviously been very successful in getting their integrated chipsets into not only the corporate, but also value PC space.

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Gaming Ghetto

However, two other factors are weighing in on the PC industry. The first is that the gaming population is increasing year on year by 20%, meaning that more people want systems that are capable of playing games acceptably. The other issue is that as discrete graphics gain performance and feature functionality they also drive the complexity of games up.

The current offerings of Intel integrated graphics chipsets, even the recently announced i865 "Springdale" re both limited to DirectX7 and are still low performance - lower than most gamers are willing to accept. ATI sees this as an opportunity and are moving into this space with RS300.