The Radeon 9700 will be clocked at 315MHz for the high-end, retail version of the GPU and we expect to see OEM versions that will have a lower clock speed, depending on customers' demands. It's reasonable to assume that this would be some kind LE card but as we've already mentioned, we expect ATI to drop LE from its naming convention for this generation of products.
The chip will have eight pipelines and will use as many as 107 million transistors. It will be built using 0.15 micron technology and the card will have external power connector since it will need more power than AGP 2.0 can provide. We learned that AGP 2.0 can deliver 40 watts so this card will therefore need more than that.
Cards will work without the power connector but with slower performance. The card that VIA was showing at Computex didn't have the power connector and it was working just fine, if maybe little slower than the one that they will introduce soon.
Just like Matrox's Parhelia, Radeon 9700 will have four vertex shader units and it will support Pixel and vertex shader 2.0 -- the one that Microsoft will introduce with DirectX 9.
The Radeon 9700 will have new feature called VideoShader. This will use the pixel shader unit to accelerate MPEG video, but it won't have support for MPEG-4 decoding or encoding in hardware.
The card will have support for 16X anisotropic filtering and will be able to deliver 400 million polygons/s, which, even to a spod like me, seems to be verging on overkill. If we assume that we need 24 FPS you will be able to get 16,6 million polygons per frame. That is amazing number, if we may say so. Today's top fancy demos use less than one million, so you can imagine how good this card will be.
Performance-wise, as we said you will be able to see 15,000 3DMarks on a P4 platform, where Geforce 4 would not give more than 12,000. We are talking about non-overclocked systems, and recognise you can get even more with faster Pentiums and overclocked cards.
This card will be fastest offering for this summer, er autumn, since this is when we expect it to see Radeon 9700 on the shelves. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ