Intel adds high-def video decoder to chipset line

Intel showed off a small PC that uses a chipset to handle Blu-ray video playback.

Intel showed off a small, energy-efficient PC that is capable of paying Blu-ray discs, highlighting the high-definition video playback capabilities of its new 4 series chipset.

The 4 series, announced Wednesday at the Computex exhibition on Wednesday, comprises several models, including some with integrated graphics that offer better 3-D performance than earlier Intel models.

"What we're really trying to do is take the kind of performance you get with very high-end motherboards and bring it into the mainstream," said Eric Mentzer, general manager of Intel's Graphics Development Group.

The small PC was based on the DG45FC Mini-ITX motherboard from Intel, with a Core 2 Duo chip and a G45 chipset. Because the chipset includes a hardware video decoder, the processor is not needed for this task and can be used for something else, such as messaging a friend while watching the video.

Total power consumption of the Blu-ray PC was 53 watts — roughly half that of a larger system using one of Intel's older chipsets. The small computer still required a cooling fan and well-ventilated case to keep it from overheating.

Motherboards based on the 4 series chipsets are on display from most of the major Taiwanese board makers, including Gigabyte Technology and Asustek Computer. The proliferation of products based on the chips suggest the chipsets are close to hitting the market.

"We are in volume production now with the P45 series of chipsets and by the end of this month we'll begin to ship the integrated (graphics chipsets) and all the different (models)," Mentzer said.

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Sumner Lemon

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