AMD Releases Final "R600" Specs
February 16, 2007 9:35 PM
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Six weeks from now, the world will get the first retail Radeon X2900 XTX
was briefed on the final details for the upcoming
retail specifications, just in time for everyone to go on vacation for Chinese New Year. AMD has briefed its board partners on the specifications that will appear on the marketing material for the card launches.
AMD's guidance claims
will feature 700 million transistors. By comparison, the Radeon X1900 series
GPU incorporated 384 million transistors into its design; the half-generation before that,
, only featured 320 million.
As disclosed by
earlier this year, the GPU features a full 512-bit memory interface with support for GDDR3 and GDDR4.
was also similar in this regard as it supported GDDR3 and GDDR4.
The R600 boasts 320 steam processors. ATI does not clearly define what a steam processor is, though insiders claim 64, 4-way unified shaders would be 256 stream processors (64 shaders, 4 interfaces each).
According to company guidance, on March 30, 2007, AMD will initially debut the
as the ATI Radeon X2900 XTX in two separate configurations: one for OEMs and another for retail. The OEM version is the full length 12" card that will appear in high-end systems.
ATI guidance claims the X2900 XTX retail card comes as a two-slot, 9.5" design with a vapor chamber cooler. Vapor chambers are already found on high-end CPU coolers, so it would be no surprise to see such cooling on a high-end GPU either. The OEM version of the card is a 12" layout and features a quiet fan cooler.
1GB of GDDR4 memory is the reference configuration for Radeon X2900 XTX. Memory on the reference X2900 XTX cards was supplied by Samsung.
Approximately one month later, the company will launch the GDDR3 version of the card. This card, dubbed the Radeon X2900 XT, features 512MB of GDDR3 and lower clock frequencies than the X2900 XTX. The X2900 XT is also one of the first Radeons to feature heatpipes on the reference design.
AMD anticipates the target driver for X2900 XT to be Catalyst 8.36. WHQL release of the X2900 XTX drive will appear around the Ides of March.
Radeon X2900 will feature native CrossFire support via an internal bridge interface -- there is no longer a need for the external cable found on the Radeon X1000 series CrossFire. There is no Master card, as was the case with other high-end CrossFire setups. Any Radeon X2900 can act as the Master card.
A much anticipated feature, native HDMI, will appear on all three versions of Radeon X2900.
One 6-pin and one 8-pin (2x4) VGA power connectors are featured on Radeon X2900, but both connectors are also backwards compatible with 6-pin power supply cables.
AMD claims the R600 target schedule will be a hard launch -- availability is expected to be immediate. Board partners will be able to demonstrate
at CeBIT 2007 (March 15 - 21), but the only available cards will be reference designs.
Why was there such discrepancy with the board layouts and designs up until now? An ATI insider, who wished to remain nameless, states "The original Quad-Stealth design is what we build the R600 on: GDDR4, full-length and dual-slot cooling. As the silicon further revised, [ATI] took up several alternative designs which eventually included GDDR3 and heatpipes into the specification. The release cards demonstrate the versatility of
in each of these unique setups."
Final clock frequencies will likely remain estimates until later this month.
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RE: Power Consumption
2/17/2007 5:11:51 AM
You also has to keep in mind die sizes have been increasing over the past few generations, and a process is usually only cooler if you run it these days at around the same clock frequencies and around the same die size.
The reason why Intel and AMD have been trying to lower power consumption is that their die size levels haven't seen too much fluctuation in the past few years on the mainstream front, were talking about 80-150mm2 for mainstream SKU's. Not to mention the higher die sizes were mostly large cache parts which aren't too power hungry to begin with as cache doesn't suck a ton of juice.
It's very hard to lower power consumption, when all the power reducing effects of a process have been used to increase the amount of transistors on the card.
Look at ATI, they used a newer 80nm, but it looks like any power reducing effects were countered by the large increase in transistor count and the increase in clockspeeds over the prior generation. You can't have it all anymore something has got to give. GPU increase performance at a rate of 2x each significant generation through parallelism rather then clockspeed and that requires adding transistors which generate more heat and require more energy.
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