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Six weeks from now, the world will get the first retail Radeon X2900 XTX

Late yesterday DailyTech was briefed on the final details for the upcoming R600 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 R600 will feature 700 million transistors.  By comparison, the Radeon X1900 series R580 GPU incorporated 384 million transistors into its design; the half-generation before that, R520, only featured 320 million.  

As disclosed by DailyTech earlier this year, the GPU features a full 512-bit memory interface with support for GDDR3 and GDDR4.  R580 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 R600 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 R600 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 R600 in each of these unique setups."

Final clock frequencies will likely remain estimates until later this month.


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Power
By Rebel44 on 2/17/2007 10:04:21 AM , Rating: 2
I hope power consumption wont go much higher than 200W.




RE: Power
By shabby on 2/17/2007 10:14:07 AM , Rating: 2
240w for the retail, 270w for the oem.
Your hopes are diminished.


RE: Power
By Rebel44 on 2/17/2007 10:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
I dont think so because you can use 2 6pin power cables which means max 225W.


RE: Power
By shabby on 2/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Power
By Rebel44 on 2/17/2007 2:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
I know that it has 6pin and 8pin connector but 8pin is backward compatible which means you can use either 6+8 or 2x6 - and those numbers (240 and 270w) are just another rumors.


RE: Power
By melgross on 2/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: Power
By Hawkido on 2/22/2007 11:05:10 AM , Rating: 2
with the 2x6 you loose the overdrive (integrated overclocking feature of the driver) feature.
1x6 + 1x8 unlockes the overdirve feature.


RE: Power
By Targon on 2/17/2007 8:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
With more memory comes more power demand, and it's something that many people may not be thinking about. How much power is needed for the GPU is one question, then how much power is needed to drive both the GPU and the 1 gig of memory on the card?

The 512 meg version will have a lower power demand just because the memory is cut in half, though it remains to be seen how much less since the GPU will also have it's speed reduced.

To be honest, do we REALLY need a 512 meg video card right now, let alone a 1 gig video card? I've been fairly satisfied with my 128 meg Radeon 9800 pro, though I AM feeling the need for 256 megs of memory and a more powerful GPU for a while now. I am personally going to wait for the X2900 XT, and leave the XTX for those who feel that 512 megs of video memory isn't enough.

The price difference between cards is also something to keep in mind. If the 512 meg XT is $150 cheaper and only a touch cheaper, many people will jump on it in comparison if the performance is there compared to the Geforce 8800 cards.


RE: Power
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/19/2007 7:36:19 AM , Rating: 2
In benchmarks on high-res with anti aliasing turned on (which is the most desired target for 20" and larger LCD panels), the 8800gts 320mb vs. the 8800gts with 640mb takes a big hit.
With no AA enabled, the difference is easily forgettable (at least it is for me, a 100usd saving which accounts for 25% of the price for just loosing less than 10% in performance is a great deal).
Anyways, I like AA and HDR, but guess I could live without AA if I can get HDR to work (right now I can't - using x800xl here :( )


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