The term 'integrated graphics' has long been a byword for pants but when AMD bought ATI last year it was determined to change that – and now it has.
With the arrival of the '690' chipset AMD has become the first manufacturer to get Windows Vista to run in full Aero mode without a separate graphics card. The reason why is simple: it has managed to build in ATI's midrange Radeon X1250 GPU.
"Multitasking between applications has never been easier with Windows Aero, the new visually-rich 3D user interface built into Windows Vista Premium and Business editions," said the company in a statement. "The AMD 690 series chipset delivers the power to make new features like Windows Flip and Windows Flip 3D an integral part of every business day."
In fact, ATI goes so far as to promise "smooth video playback and true-to-life images for all multimedia, including high-definition content" and with integrated HDMI and DVI outputs even the cinephiles should be happy.
No less than 30 motherboard designs will be based on the 690 series so expect to see a tidal wave of solutions pour out from third parties throughout Q2. Integrated graphics is suddenly no longer a dirty word... unlike @#*% which remains very dirty indeed.
Update: It has been correctly pointed out to me that Intel's G965WH board, which contains the GMA X3000 chip, received new drivers in December to make it compatible with the Vista Aero interface. This means it actually takes the award I had dished out to AMD above.
Having a life I don't religiously check integrated graphics driver updates so please excuse this oversight.