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AMD packs next-generation AVIVO high-definition video decoding features into its value and mainstream lineup

AMD’s next-generation value and mainstream products are set to bring DirectX 10 and high-definition video playback to the masses. Although AMD is late to the DirectX 10 game, the upcoming RV610 and RV630 feature second-generation unified shaders with shader model 4.0 support. AMD has remained hush over the amount of unified shaders and shader clock speeds of its next-generation value and mainstream products though.

AMD is prepared to take on NVIDIA’s PureVideo HD with its next-generation AVIVO video processing. AVIVO is receiving its first upgrade since its introduction with the Radeon X1k-series with the RV610 and RV630. This time around, AMD is integrating its Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, for hardware decoding of H.264 and VC-1 high-definition video formats.

AMD’s UVD expands on the previous generation’s AVIVO implementation to include hardware bit stream processing and entropy decode functions. Hardware acceleration of frequency transform, pixel prediction and deblocking functions remain supported, as with the first generation AVIVO processing. AMD’s Advanced Video Processor, or AVP, has also made the cut for low power video processing.

Integrated HDMI with support for HDCP joins the next-generation AVIVO video processing for protected high-definition video playback. Unlike current HDMI implementations on PCIe graphics cards, RV610 and RV630 integrate audio functionality into the GPU. Instead of passing a PCM or Dolby Digital signal from onboard audio or a sound card, RV610 and RV630-based graphics cards can directly output audio – removing the need of a separate sound card.

RV610 and RV630 support PCIe 2.0 for increased bandwidth. Native support for CrossFire remains, as with current ATI Radeon X1650 XT and X1950 Pro products. AMD will also debut RV610 and RV630 on a 65nm manufacturing processor for low-power consumption. Expect RV610 products to consume around 25 to 35-watts. RV630 requires more power at around 75 to 128-watts.

AMD currently has four RV610 reference designs based on two RV610 variants – Antelope FH, Antelope LP, Falcon FH and Falcon LP reference boards and RV610LE and RV610PRO GPUs. Antelope FH and Antelope LP are similar; however, Antelope LP is the low-profile variant. Both reference boards feature 128MB or 256MB of DDR2 video memory clocked at 400 MHz. Antelope boards employ the RV610LE, feature passive cooling and consume less than 25-watts of power.

AMD’s Falcon LP reference board is another low-profile model with 256MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 700 MHz. Falcon LP takes advantage of a DMS-59 connector for dual video outputs while maintaining a low profile form factor. The Falcon LP reference board employs active cooling to cool the RV610LE or RV610PRO GPU.

AMD Antelope FH, Antelope LP and Falcon LP only support software CrossFire – all lack support for the CrossFire bridge connectorHKEPC confirmed this CrossFire setup in a recent report last week.

The Falcon FH reference board is the performance variant and designed for the RV610PRO ASIC with 256MB of GDDR3 video memory. AMD estimates board power consumption at approximately 35-watts, though it is unknown if Falcon FH boards will feature active or passive cooling. Falcon FH is the only RV610 reference board to support AMD’s CrossFire bridge connector for hardware CrossFire support. Falcon FH also features VIVO capabilities.

RV630 has three reference board configurations – Kohinoor, Orloff and Sefadu. Kohinoor is the high-performance RV630 variant and features 256MB or 512MB of GDDR4 memory. It also features VIVO and dual dual-link DVI outputs. However, it consumes the most power out of the three RV630 reference boards, requiring 121-watts for 256MB models and 128-watts for 512MB models.

Orloff falls in the middle with 256MB of GDDR3 video memory. Orloff lacks the video input features of Kohinoor but supports HDMI output. AMD estimates Orloff to consume less than 93-watts of power. Kohinoor and Orloff support PCIe 2.0 and native CrossFire. Kohinoor and Orloff require additional power via PCIe power connector though.

Sefadu falls at the bottom of the RV630 lineup and features 256MB or 512MB of DDR2 video memory. HDMI remains supported, as with Orloff though. Power consumption is estimated at less than 75-watts, and does not require the additional power supplied by a PCIe power connector. All RV630 boards feature 128-bit memory interfaces and occupy a  single-slot.


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RE: Darn
By InsaneScientist on 3/13/2007 9:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
If they were going to keep the memory speeds the same as the current gen stuff, I'd be right there complaining with you, however....

Consider for a second, what matters is not truly the bus width, what matters is the memory data rate. While increasing the bus width is certainly one of the fastest ways to increase data throughput and increase it quite a lot, it's also expensive. Going from 128-bit to 256-bit increases the cost of manufacturing by an incredible amount. (I don't remember the figures, but I think you're talking about a couple more layers on the PCB) The more economical solution, if possible, is to first ramp up the clock speed on the memory, and only then increase the bus width.

We know that GDDR3 is capable of going considerably faster than it's clocked on current midrange cards (IIRC they've gotten GDDR3 up to 800MHz, which would be a 1600MHz effective data rate - far beyond current midrange cards).
And then once we exhaust the potential GDDR3 has to offer, we have another more economical solution before we go to 256-bit: we simply swap out the GDDR3 chips for GDDR4 , which we've already seen break 1GHz (2GHz effective data rate) and GDDR4 is still growing...

And look at the chart: one of the midrange cards does exactly that: it's equipped with GDDR4.

The more something costs them to make, the more it will cost us as consumers. It's better for us if they can increase the bandwidth without increasing the bus width, because otherwise it would cost us a lot more.
As long as they can increase the bandwidth, it doesn't matter how they do it.


RE: Darn
By bargetee5 on 3/15/2007 10:13:19 PM , Rating: 2
Gddr 4 halves the amount of interface needed to achieve the same amount of performance a 512-bit interface needs. Since gddr 4 requires less wattage and carries double the bits per transmission. Equals an effective 92.34GB/s, much higher than the data rate of the Geforce 8800gtx which ironically uses a 384-bit interface.


RE: Darn
By InsaneScientist on 3/15/2007 11:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about?

The only way you can halve the width of the bus and keep the performance the same is if the memory on the narrower bus is running at double the clock speed of the other.
While GDDR4 does allow for higher speeds, there is nothing inherent about the technology that allows it to go faster.

It's like the transition from DDR to DDR2 on the desktop. Assumming that they are both running in dual channel, DDR running at 400MHz will have the exact same bandwidth (6.4GB/s) as DDR2 running at 400MHz.
Now, the latencies on the DDR2 will be higher, but that's a different category.
Granted DDR2 can hit 800MHz, and therefore achieve that 6.4GB/s with half the bus width, but the tradeoff is that the speed must be doubled to do that.


RE: Darn
By Zoomer on 3/17/2007 9:16:20 AM , Rating: 2
He probably thinking GDDR4 = QDR. Sorry, I would like that too, but this isn't it.


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