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AMD's RV670 processor runs on a single-slot cooler design, though working samples unveiled last week used a two-slot solution instead.  (Source:
Next-generation GPUs are the fastest things on the planet -- if they were released a year ago

Traditionally the Fall graphics refresh has been the battle of the titans -- ATI and NVIDIA both would debut behemoth video cards in an attempt to snag the headlines from one another.

Much of that changed when AMD acquired ATI last year.  Not only did ATI miss the Radeon HD 2900 launch window by almost six months, but NVIDIA's high-end GeForce 8800 became the undisputed ultra-high-end GPU as well.

This Fall, we will not get an ultra-high-end replacement from AMD or NVIDIA. Instead, November will be a clash of the sub-titans.  NVIDIA's mid-range G92 will go head-to-head with ATI's RV670.

ATI's RV670 has been called many things in the past. It was originally a 65 nanometer die-shrink of the R600 class GPU; then a 55 nanometer shrink. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Asia's largest core-logic foundry, confirmed AMD would go with a 55nm R600 shrink in a memo forwarded to DailyTech earlier this year.

When TSMC debuted its 55nm process earlier this Spring, the company claimed "significant die cost savings from 65 nm, while offering the same speed and 10 to 20 percent lower power consumption."  Since R600 was manufactured originally on a 80nm node, thermal improvements should be fairly dramatic on RV670.

Last week at the World Cyber Games, Sapphire demonstrated a working RV670 using a dual-slot cooler.  Sapphire and ATI engineers alluded to DailyTech that this dual-slot configuration will likely be replaced with a single-slot solution by time of launch.

NVIDIA's G92 has also carried many names.  Originally slated as the 65nm "fill-in" GPU between GeForce 8600 and GeForce 8800, the company began changing documentation earlier this month as ATI's offerings began to firm up. 

NVIDIA confirmed the specifications of G92 with board partners earlier this week.  The GeForce 8800 GT will feature a 600 MHz core clock, a 900 MHz memory clock and a 256 bit memory interface.

Newest guidance from NVIDIA, released Monday, claims the 8800 GT will feature 112 stream processors and a shader clock locked at 1500 MHz. 

The one thing that didn't change on G92 is the process node.  NVIDIA's foundry partner, TSMC, forwarded a second memo to DailyTech confirming G92 is in mass production at the company's Fab 12 with samples available now on 65nm process node.  NVIDIA's GeForce 8500 and GeForce 8600 are manufactured on TSMC's 80nm node; GeForce 8800 GT will be the company's first 65nm graphics processor.

NVIDIA guidance suggests G92 will be here next month, followed by AMD's marketing blitz for RV670, RD790 and Phenom.  All three AMD offerings are expected to launch on the same day, which AMD distributors have penciled in for late November. Intel is expected to launch its 45nm Penryn processors on November 12, and any NVIDIA launch will likely coincide with that announcement.

Late last week, Maximum PC reported that NVIDIA senior vice president Dan Vivoli commented that NVIDIA would be releasing new hardware to go along with the upcoming title Crysis.  The confirmed launch date by Electronic Arts for Crysis is November 15, 2007

However, G92 fans might get a quick preview of the new GPU on October 29, 2007, when the company officially lifts the embargo on 8800 GT.

Neither AMD nor NVIDIA have released "firm" pricing for the products, though we can reasonably infer several key points regarding the price.  Since RV670 is effectively a smaller R600, performance will be very similar to existing R600-based cards on the market today.  However, since the card only utilizes a single-slot cooler and a considerably smaller die, the cost of these cards should be lower than existing R600s.

G92, which was originally called GeForce 8700 until just last week, has a soft suggested retail price of $250, according to NVIDIA board partners.  Since the GeForce 8800 GT will be launching first, it's fairly likely that AMD will adjust the suggested price of RV670 depending on the outcome of initial GeForce 8800 GT feedback.

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RV670 looks good, but too little to late...
By Warren21 on 10/9/2007 5:53:09 PM , Rating: -1
The outlook:

A 55 nm R600-shrink (=RV670) based board that runs a single slot cooler and only one 6-pin PCIe power connector* looks very promising. If it carries the torch of the 512-bit memory interface, this card could reach a very high level of performance with the appropriate memory and core/mem clocks. All of this information would lead one to believe that with some overclocking (R600 on 55 nano!) this chip/card could easily wipe the floor with the G92-based GT, the GTS and maybe give the GTX (all three running reference clocks) a run for its money...

The reality:

However nV has had a solid lead for almost 1 year to date. Granted, there were driver problems for the first ~3 months of the 8800 series lifespan (and some games still produce artefacts), but 1 year of obsolescence is hard to recoup (market share & mindshare) on ATI's part no matter what kind of value this new RV670 may carry.

* 3D model pics of new single slot and dual slot cooler designs for RV670 were leaked on a Chinese site (of which the former only sported a 3 x 2 pin PCIe connector)... I can't find the link atm.

By Warren21 on 10/9/2007 5:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
Title should read *too late...

RE: RV670 looks good, but too little to late...
By defter on 10/9/2007 6:20:36 PM , Rating: 2
RV670 has 256bit memory controller. 512bit one would be insane for a mid-range part.

RE: RV670 looks good, but too little to late...
By Warren21 on 10/9/2007 6:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
RV670 isn't intended for only one SKU. Maybe the RV670 'GT' or RV670 'Pro' models [will feature 256-bit memory], but having the rumoured 825MHz Core / 1200MHz (2.4GHz DDR) RV670XT version limited to a 512-bit interface seems counter-productive (HD2900 XT = 512-bit, HD2950 XT = 256-bit?)

Numerous sites claimed outrageous facts months ago that the HD 2900Pro's would, for example, have a reduced number of processor units or a 256-bit interface...

Thus, I think its too early to badge this ASIC as 'midrange' just yet...

By James Holden on 10/9/2007 6:42:38 PM , Rating: 4
Numerous sites claimed outrageous facts

Be careful when you lump sites like Inquirer and "facts" into the same sentence.

By Vanilla Thunder on 10/10/2007 11:43:15 AM , Rating: 3
Diss the Inq all you want. Some of it's rubbish, and some of it turns out to be very true. Either way, it's nowhere near as pretentious as this site's reader's can be, and it's wicked fun to read.

Snog yourselves.

Vanilla Thunder

By Jkm3141 on 10/29/2007 2:07:29 AM , Rating: 2
Well put.

RE: RV670 looks good, but too little to late...
By Anh Huynh on 10/9/2007 7:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's midrange because of the pricing structure, not the performance. Neither company have unveiled plans for their next-generation flagship quite yet, except minor code names.

By Frallan on 10/10/2007 3:20:34 AM , Rating: 1
Ohh so true - The Inqwell reports it to the best of their knowledge. Given that their knowledge is based on whet they overheard from a drunk technichian at some conference you can#t call it facts.

However credit where credit is due - they often call the truth b4 e1 else.

RE: RV670 looks good, but too little to late...
By defter on 10/10/2007 3:18:55 AM , Rating: 2
but having the rumoured 825MHz Core / 1200MHz (2.4GHz DDR) RV670XT version limited to a 512-bit interface seems counter-productive

Why? Actually, if such high memory clock will be used, then there will not much need for a wide memory bus. Keep in mind that currently 2900XT has doesn't really benefit from that extra memory bandwidth.

2.4GHz memory clock with 256bit bus would give about 77GB/s of memory bandwidth. 8800 GTS has 64GB/s of bandwidth and is doing fine against 2900XT that has 106GB/s of memory bandwidth.

(HD2900 XT = 512-bit, HD2950 XT = 256-bit?)

They could call RV670 a 2900Pro. There has been many this kind of examples: GeForce 7950GT is slower than 7900GTX, Radeon 1950Pro is slower than 1900XTX and so on.

By defter on 10/10/2007 3:19:26 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I meant: RV670 could be a 2950Pro

By Darkskypoet on 10/27/2007 4:14:33 PM , Rating: 3
Completely agree. In fact, you may actually see a GDD4 part worth having with this chip. As well, you could see higher come from not only the die shrink, but also from the lowered complexity / transistor count. This could give more to the new part then the simple die shrink, and lead to a better ocing experience.

Additionally, if one is looking to throw 2 chips on a card, the drop in memory bus complexity is a must to bring cards out at a decent price point. Imagine the traces otherwise to memory, the complexity of the PCB.. Yuck.

R600 was also meant to be able to run well in multi gpu configurations, so I'd expect this to carry thru to the RV670. I'd also expect the RV670 performing better then the r600 in many if not all situations. (if they want it to)

Remember the R600 wasn't just a gaming card. It is a GPGPU, and as such other considerations then just winning the top spot for video cards are important. Nvidia is just bringing Tesla into the field, whereas AMD/ATI have had their GPGPU solutions selling to server vendors (and Folding nuts)since the x1900 (perhaps x1800). Because of this, and limited AMD/ATI resources, the R600 was a compromise from the beginning. Not a shot at the super highend at all.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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