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AMD's January GPU launch includes the dual-GPU R680  (Source: AMD)
Get ready to enter 2008 with a bang: AMD has a bunch of GPUs on the way

AMD's newest R680 graphics processor might look a whole lot like the ill-fated R600 GPU, but the reality couldn't be more bizarre.  Instead of one 80nm behemoth-of-a-GPU, the R680 consists of two 55nm processor cores.

Representatives from AMD would not confirm that the R680 is essentially two RV670 GPU cores on the same board, though the company did confirm that each core has the same specifications of an RV670 processor.

The RV670 graphics core, announced last November with the Phenom processor, is the first 55nm desktop graphics adaptor.  AMD does not target this card as a high-end adaptor, though reviewers were quick to herald the RV670 as AMD's best product of 2007.

The company also made quick mention of the RV620 and RV635 GPU cores.  These cores are nearly identical to the previous RV610 and RV630 processors, but will be produced on the 55nm node instead. 

All three of AMD's new GPUs are scheduled to launch next month. 

Dual-GPU technology is not new.  3dfx's flagship Voodoo 5 family also resorted to multiple processors to achieve its relatively high performance.  ASUS, Gigabyte, Sapphire, HIS and PowerColor all introduced dual-GPU configurations of just about every graphics processor on the market, though these were never "sanctioned" ATI or NVIDIA projects.  Ultimately, all of these projects were canned due to long development times and low demand.

Cross-state rival NVIDIA isn't sitting on idle hands though, either.   The company publicly announced plans to replace all 90nm G80 graphics cores with G92 derivatives by the end of the year.  G92's debut introduction, GeForce 8800 GT, met wild support from reviewers and analysts alike.  G92's second introduce, GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, was met with similar but less enthusiastic acceptance during Tuesday's launch.

NVIDIA's newest roadmap claims the DirectX 10.1 family of 65nm processors will also hit store shelves this Spring.  The chipsets -- codenamed D9E, D9M and D9P -- are architecturally different from the G80/G92 family.



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By Targon on 12/13/2007 8:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
3Dfx was suffering from a lot more than just performance issues. Glide(the API that 3Dfx used and championed) was limited to 16 bit color, and that really hurt them compared to NVIDIA's 32 bit color and good performance. It wasn't that NVIDIA was so far ahead of 3Dfx in terms of performance, it was an issue of marketing and complacency on the part of 3Dfx.

Many people also forget that the majority of GPU sales come from integrated graphics and the low to mid range graphics products. As a result, if ATI/AMD can be competitive in the $200 and below range in terms of price vs. performance, it's really not as bad for Radeon graphics as many people seem to think.

There was also talk about BOTH ATI and NVIDIA moving to a multi-GPU approach as the way to scale graphics going forward. The reason for this is that since 3D graphics can be handled in parallel with almost infinite benefits(ok, one GPU pixel pipeline per displayed pixel being the limit), it really makes more sense. A good GPU core that shows up with 1 GPU for low end, and 4 to 8 for the high end would be a lot easier to deal with in terms of power and heat demands.

The real key is to make each GPU core work together for ALL applications. Right now, both SLI and Crossfire suffer from the multi-card setup not working for all applications, indicating some serious issues for both platforms.


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