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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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By kilkennycat on 2/17/2007 4:19:51 PM , Rating: 0
quote:
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.


My hopes from the title of this news-article and the first paragraph were sadly dashed by reading it in its entirety. It just contains the usual marketing blurb. The article contains no R600 specs at all except some bus interface and memory details, expected graphics card configurations and related cooling technology information. All real information on the chip architecture and the very important subject of its expected power-consumption is completely missing.

quote:
AMD anticipates the target driver for X2900 XT to be Catalyst 8.36. WHQL release of the X2900 XTX driver will appear around the Ides of March.


Nice to know that there will be a driver on March 15, without any board in the retail pipeline until 30 March.... So does the press NDA get lifted on March 15 with the release of the driver, so that we can then read the Anandtech technical review of the retail version of the X2900 XTX graphics card together with Anand's test-assessment of the driver and its maturity ?? Hopefully, at the same time Anand will also have a sample of the reference-design of the X2900 XT (GDDR3) for a performance-comparison. Since the retail X2900 XT is supposed to launch a month later around the end of April, ATi coughing up a X2900 XT reference design (or even a sample of the final board) for review should not be too hard.

As we have very painfully learned from the 8800 driver saga, no point in purchasing any R600-based graphics card until at least the Dx9 drivers for this new architecture are third-party confirmed to be reasonably functional in all the modes desired by prospective customers -- otherwise an expensively frustrating exercise for the purchaser.

quote:
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


More waffle from ATi. It probably just means that the GDDR3 version will have power shut off to parts of the chip with the associated data-paths disabled, will need a far less expensive and smaller cooler and thus a smaller circuit-board. ATi's "GTS-version" of the R600......

And as for the hint of a retail hard-launch on March 30th, I do hope that ATi understand by now that only placing 100 or so in the retail channel on launch day and then not having any more available for another month or two is NOT a hard launch.




By Lakku on 2/18/2007 4:03:17 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't painfully experience anything due to drivers because I didn't jump on the Vista bandwagon right away. Was nVidia at fault? Certainly, at least from a marketing standpoint of touting their Vista ready GPUs for the ultimate Vista experience. Were people who expected Vista to have perfect driver support out of the gate at fault? Certainly, because no MS OS, since Win 95 at least, has ever had good driver support to start out. XP had problems with games etc. at launch as well. At any rate, since you are talking about DX9 support, well, stick with XP. While not perfect, and no display driver usually is now a days, the 8800GTX runs just fine for me for 98% of what I play/do, so there's nothing painful about it. Until DX10 games come out, I see no need for Vista to play games. If you need it for work or other functionality try dual booting.


By Tyler 86 on 2/21/2007 11:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
Were people who expected Vista to have perfect driver support out of the gate at fault? Absolutely not.

nVidia & ATI have both had a reasonably long ammount of time with the prerelease versions of Vista to have had their drivers ready for the release of Vista.

ATI managed to pull it off, what the hell happened to nVidia?


By crystal clear on 2/18/2007 5:25:05 AM , Rating: 2
VR-Zone has learned that the official marketing name for R600 will be Radeon X2900 series and we will start using the name from now on. We can expect AMD to launch Radeon X2900XTX and XT first while X2900XL will follow later. The recent leaked R6xx series chart with pricing contains lots of false information is all we can say. RV610 and RV630 are 65nm and RV610 has 64-bit memory interface.

Among other things we can confirm right now; R600 is 80nm, contains 700M transistors and has 512-bit memory interface. X2900 requires 2 supplemental power connector from the PSU, one 8-pin and one 6-pin but you are able to plug in the 6-pin power cable into the 8-pin connector. The targeted driver release version for X2900 series is Catalyst 8.35.1. Systems with X2900XTX cards and tech demos will be at CeBIT but inside a private room for the privileged only.

http://www.vr-zone.com/?i=4672

VR-Zone has learned about some new details on 80nm R600 today and there will be 2 SKUs at launch; XTX and XT. There will be 2 versions of R600XTX; one is for OEM/SI and the other for retail. Both feature 1GB DDR4 memories on board but the OEM version is 12.4" long to be exact and the retail is 9.5" long. The above picture shows a 12.4" OEM version. The power consumption of the card is huge at 270W for 12" version and 240W for 9.5" version. As for R600XT, it will have 512MB of GDDR3 memories onboard, 9.5" long and consumes 240W of power. Lastly, there is a cheaper R600XL SKU to be launched at a later date.

http://www.vr-zone.com/?i=4622


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