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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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Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By NullSubroutine on 12/13/2007 8:49:01 PM , Rating: 5
The 3870 really works well in X-fire right now keeping up and alot of times beating the 8800 GT in SLI (and sometimes the single GTX/Ultra despite costing less).

I would expect the 3870 X2 to perform equal to if not better than the 3870 X-Fire. I am not entirely sure the drivers will be there for 3870 X2 in X-fire (effectively quad-fire) but as time goes on I think multi-GPU card will become the standard (as it looks like the R700 is a multi-GPU design).

The G92 X2 will probably be pretty good as well, but X-fire seems to give more of a boost than SLI (in one article I saw it had 96% boost).

The end of 2007 has been exciting for video cards and it loos as though the start of 2008 will be as well.

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By MonkeyPaw on 12/13/2007 10:22:13 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, I think they may have no choice but to go multi-GPU soon. Both high-end DX10 solutions have 600-700 million transistors, quickly passing today's CPUs (where most of the transistors are cache anyway). If AMD and nVidia were to upstage these current DX10 cores with something considerably faster (as is the trend), they would likely be crossing the 1 billion transistor mark. Even with the best of today's process tech, yields would probably be awful on such monsters.

I guess technically speaking, the R680 should pass the 1 billion mark (1,332,000,000), but it will be doing it in an MCM-like fashion. I guess the main question is if drivers will ever make such solutions practical across all situations. It looks like we may have no choice!

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By TMV192 on 12/14/2007 3:08:42 AM , Rating: 4
the drivers should be there at least by launch or soon after, and its not called Quad-Crossfire, as you see in the picture it's officially Crossfire-X

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By maroon1 on 12/14/2007 9:20:01 AM , Rating: 1
The 3870 really works well in X-fire right now keeping up and alot of times beating the 8800 GT in SLI

8800GT SLI beats HD3870 crossfire a lot of times

Why you didn't mention that ?

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By glynor on 12/14/2007 11:09:18 AM , Rating: 4
I would hope! Considering the price differential, and the single-card performance, the GT in SLI should beat the 3870 all of the time.

IMHO, it is a testament to the efficiency of the design of the Crossfire system that two slower cards combined can eek out a win occasionally over two faster cards combined.

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By just4U on 12/14/2007 12:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Will this new gpu be on a single die type thing? Or two chips on one board?

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By KingstonU on 12/14/2007 1:16:28 PM , Rating: 5
The pictures show two chips on one board.

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By just4U on 12/14/2007 1:33:32 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. Thanks! I'd rate you up but heh .. im posting :)

My only real concern then is heat. A 200Watt card isn't optimal either I suppose but as they say that's the price of power. I wonder if it will be better then 2 crossfired 3870s... being on the same board and all.

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By retrospooty on 12/14/2007 2:46:09 PM , Rating: 5
He did... He said the 3870 keeps up with the 8800GT and beats it alot of the time. that would imply that the 8800GT wins some too.

The point is that even though Nvidia has the upper hand with single card, crossfire is more efficient than SLI. 2 ATI cards in crossfire are 90+% faster than one ATI card. 2 NV cards in SLI are nowhere near 90% as fast as one NV card.

RE: Expecting 3870 X2 to do well
By Flunk on 12/15/2007 4:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like a good product. Hopefully it won't end up like the Rage 128 MAXX (Ati's last dual GPU card) and the drivers will be up to snuff immediately and kept up as well (Ati never did release drivers for the MAXX for anything over Windows 98).

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