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Details of AMD's next generation Radeon hit the web

Newly created site Level 505 has leaked benchmarks and specifications of AMD’s upcoming ATI R600 graphics processor. The upcoming graphics processor is expected to launch in January 2007 with an expected revision arriving in March 2007. These early specifications and launch dates line up with what DailyTech has already published and are present on ATI internal roadmaps as of workweek 49.

Preliminary specifications from Level 505 of the ATI R600 are as follows:
  • 64 4-Way SIMD Unified Shaders, 128 Shader Operations/Cycle
  • 32 TMUs, 16 ROPs
  • 512 bit Memory Controller, full 32 bit per chip connection
  • GDDR3 at 900 MHz clock speed (January)
  • GDDR4 at 1.1 GHz clock speed (March, revised edition)
  • Total bandwidth 115 GB/s on GDDR3
  • Total bandwidth 140 GB/s on GDDR4
  • Consumer memory support 1024 MB
  • DX10 full compatibility with draft DX10.1 vendor-specific cap removal (unified programming)
  • 32FP [sic] internal processing
  • Hardware support for GPU clustering (any x^2 [sic] number, not limited to Dual or Quad-GPU)
  • Hardware DVI-HDCP support (High Definition Copy Protocol)
  • Hardware Quad-DVI output support (Limited to workstation editions)
  • 230W TDP PCI-SIG compliant
This time around it appears AMD is going for a different approach by equipping the ATI R600 with less unified shaders than NVIDIA’s recently launched GeForce 8800 GTX. However, the unified shaders found on the ATI R600 can complete more shader operations per clock cycle.

ATI's interal guidance states the R600 will have 320 stream processors at launch; 64 4-way unified shaders only accounts for 256 of these stream processors.

Level505 claims AMD is expected to equip the ATI R600 with GDDR3 and GDDR4 memory with the GDDR3 endowed model launching in January. Memory clocks have been set at 900 MHz for GDDR3 models and 1.1 GHz for GDDR4 models.  As recent as two weeks ago, ATI roadmaps had said this GDDR3 launch was canceled.  These same roadmaps claim the production date for R600 is February 2007, which would be after a January 22nd launch.

Memory bandwidth of the ATI R600 is significantly higher than NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800-series. Total memory bandwidth varies from 115GB/s on GDDR3 equipped models to 140GB/s on GDDR4 equipped models.

Other notable hardware features include hardware support for quad DVI outputs, but utilizing all four outputs are limited to FireGL workstation edition cards.

There’s also integrated support for multi-GPU clustering technologies such as CrossFire too. The implementation on the ATI R600 allows any amount ofATI R600 GPUs to operate together in powers of two. Expect multi-GPU configurations with greater than two GPUs to only be available for the workstation markets though.

The published results are very promising with AMD’s ATI R600 beating out NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTX in most benchmarks. The performance delta varies from 8% up to 42% depending on the game benchmark.

When DailyTech contacted the site owner to get verification of the benchmarks, the owner replied that the benchmark screenshots could not be published due to origin-specific markers that would trace the card back to its source -- the author mentioned the card is part of the Microsoft Vista driver certification program.

If Level505's comments seem a little too pro-ATI, don't be too surprised.  When asked if the site was affiliated in any way to ATI or AMD, the owner replied to DailyTech with the statement that "two staff members of ours are directly affiliated with AMD's business [development] division."

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By Tsuwamono on 12/30/2006 8:00:19 PM , Rating: 1
Now we know Nvidia fanboys are going to say AMD staged this. Either way, AMD has never(to my knowledge) purposely lead us astray and neither has ATI. IMO the R600 is going to rock the 8800 no matter what.

RE: Great
By kilkennycat on 12/30/2006 8:11:50 PM , Rating: 4
You have a very short (ATI-specific) memory. Remember the X1800-series debacle ? Delayed for months after announcement. Obsolete 2 months after real shelf-availability; replaced by the X1900-series. Of course, no mention of their imminent replacement by the X1900... I wonder how many were burned by their X1800-series purchases ?

RE: Great
By Dactyl on 12/30/2006 8:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
One reason to believe this is true is the GDDR3/GDDR4 detail. ATi and Nvidia always try to release a high end card first followed by slower cards, so enthusiasts can run out and be the first in line to buy the new card (rather than needing to trade up every 3 months to stay on top). Normally these companies hate to admit a better version is just around the corner (of course, it would be hard to hide GDDR4 versions of the card when ATi said all along it would be releasing that)

RE: Great
By tuteja1986 on 12/30/06, Rating: -1
RE: Great
By atwood7fan on 12/31/2006 12:00:23 AM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one that noticed how the x1950xtx cf did surprisingly well vs. the 8800gtx? Seems a little fishy to me...

RE: Great
By Goty on 12/31/2006 12:07:35 AM , Rating: 1
After reading the whole article, I'm a little inclined to say that it's not as biased as some people are trying to make it out to be. There are a few times throughout the article where the author cites that the G80 card was producing a better image than the R600 card.

I'd still take the numbers with a grain of salt, but maybe a bit less than might be customary.

RE: Great
By oddity21 on 12/31/2006 12:24:43 AM , Rating: 2
Numbers look very promising, although 8800GTX numbers seem to have been 'watered down' a little. My rig (E6600, 8800GTX) gets over 80fps in the performance test with exactly the same settings, without fail.

RE: Great
By leexgx on 1/1/2007 11:45:02 AM , Rating: 2
one 8800 GTX is cheaper then 2 x1950 in CF plus the mobo (8800 gtx on its own does not need SLI mobo just an pci-E 16 lane one so basicly any intel/nvidia mobo will be fine)

from some of the tests x1950 cf was matching

the R600 will be intresting

RE: Great
By yxalitis on 1/2/2007 12:53:51 AM , Rating: 2
OK, as a proud owner of an ATI X1800 XT, i have been nothing but happy with my purchase. So what if the X1900 followed it shortly? It was only 10% faster..the X1950, another 10%, these increases do not constitute the phrase "made redundant" Now, the 8800 GTX did make the 7900 reduntant, as it is approximately twice as fast. Really, every new release promises a massive increase over the previous generation, but 9 times out of 10, is only marginally faster. The greastest single jump I can think of was the voodoo 2, which was a revolution at the time. The new DX 10 cards seem to offer a similar performance boost over the previous generation, but the price difference reduces the signifiance of that impact.

Oh, and ATI drivers have been as good if not better then nVidia's for the best part of 2 years, seriously, you need to get a fresh perspective, the "ATI drivers suck" adage belongs to the days of the RATI rage. (Excepting Open GL, which only became comparable to nVidida's recently, but since the number of Open GL games lags far behind Directx, I don't count is as significant...Doom 3/Quake 4 fans may disagree)
Oh, and I own both ATI and nVidia, in my PC's, so I am no "ATI fan boy" If the R600 procves not to meet muster, I'll be a happy 8800 GTS purchaser. But right now, i see no reason to upgrade my "reduntant" X1800 XT!

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