The integrated desktop graphics market is often one which is overlooked by many users. It's generally understood that integrated graphics adaptors will never be as capable as their beefy standalone cousins, and so tend to get written off as being beneath the interest horizon. While this generalisation is certainly founded in truth, it is also true that apart from games and some high-level graphics rendering applications, there's not much out there that really requires dedicated, high-end graphics cards.
So, the role of integrated graphics adaptors is not which one can provide the greatest 3D grunt, but which can provide the most support for the popular standards of the day. Which ones have multiple outputs? Which have native support for media encoders? Can they act as the foundation of a decent system? These are the important questions for onboard GPUs - they all share the advantage of low noise, heat and space footprints, so they need to prove their credentials in other areas.
At the end of September, nVidia released the GeForce 6100 range of integrated graphics adaptors. They come in two iterations - the GeForce 6100 and the 6150. The main differences in the adaptors are in the 6150's higher clock speed of 475MHz compared with the 6100's speed of 425MHz. The 6150 also supports TV encoding, DVI and HD MPEG-2/WMP9 playback.
The 6100 range supports DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0, as well as the CineFX 3.0 and Intellisample 3.0 technologies.
Accompanying this are two supporting motherboard chipsets. The nForce 410 is geared towards the GeForce 6100 but doesn't support the 6150, while the nForce 430 chipset supports both adaptors.
Biostar have been very quick to the market with an nForce 410-based motherboard. Read on as we put it through it paces and see just what it's all about and what it has to offer.