We already said that the R520 taped out and our sources confirm that the chip is in good shape, but then again it's still the first working silicon that it got out of the fab. It takes at least six weeks to get the next revision of silicon. This means that ATI is still on track and will possibly make one more revision before it goes to final production.
Our biggest concern about R520 is its manufacturing process. ATI will build it using a 90 nanometre process and this might be tricky. Shifting to a smaller process is always problematical, not automatical. Remember Nvidia's adventure with the NV30 where it ended up with ill starred consequences and subsequent unavailability? ATI is very optimistic over its decision, however. ATI likes to be more conservative and doesn't like to risk it for a frisket. Just look at its X800 110 nanometre chips, for example.
We know we can expect more than 16 pipelines but ATI still likes to call these 16, "extreme" pipelines. ATI used to say that the R420 had eight extreme pipelines and that resulted in 16 in the X800XT and the world renowned X800XT PE. This time I would expect up to 24 pipes.
Its PS 3.0 part with full 32 floating point precision will definitely give Nvidia a run for its money. Still, we still haven't seen which playing cards Nvidia is holding. Has it an Ace or a Joker up its sleeve? µ
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