If you were asked to name the biggest player in the graphics industry, you'd probably sway between either nVidia or AMD/ATI, but whichever of those two you might choose you'd be wrong. While the dedicated GPU market is thoroughly commanded by the red and green camps, Intel is surely and not at all slowly raking in cash for the blue corner with its integrated graphics solutions.
Most computer users aren't planning on playing anything more demanding than The Sims, or perhaps Zoo Tycoon and for that an 8800 GTX is just slightly overkill. With that in mind, nVidia is expanding its 6-series of motherboard chipsets in an attempt to cut a slice of that market out of Intel's pie.
Based on last generation's 7-series architecture, the integrated graphics solutions will come as follows: the nVidia GeForce 7150 and 7100 IGP on the nForce 630i chipset and the GeForce 7050 IGP on both the 630i and 610i chipset. All the chips are Vista Aero, DX9 and Shader Model 3.0 capable - although don't think you'll be playing BioShock.
The 630i chipset offers support for 1,333MHz front-side bus processors, while the 610i is limited to 1,066MHz parts. Equally, the GeForce 7150 and 7100 chips can use up to 800MHz DDR2 RAM, while the 7050 chip can only cope with 667MHz memory. Also, while the former solutions offer HDMI and DVI outputs with HDCP, the 7050 forgoes all but a VGA output.
Other than the aforementioned graphical prowess the 600i chipset will also bring a single x16 and two x1 PCI Express slots, four 3Gbps SATA ports and two IDE connectors. Differentiating between the 630i and 610i is USB and LAN connectivity, with the former offering Gigabit Ethernet and 10 USB ports, while the latter comes with 100Mbit Ethernet and eight USB ports.
A IGP-free 630i option will also be coming, omitting only the graphics, while keeping all the other features. More importantly, price wise nVidia is aiming the 7100 and 630i pairing to compete with Intel's G33 Express solution, so pricing should be good. We can expect to see products popping up over the next few weeks, no doubt followed by various Shuttles and notebooks using the boards.