What is good is that AMD decided that it wants to have full support on both hardware and software front, so Catalyst WHQL'ed driver suite will be ready in full not for the official product launch, planned for week starting 24th of March - but for the first live showings of demos on CeBIT in Hangover.
The drivers will support SingleFire and CrossFire modes for all ATI cards including R600 generation, for both Windows XP and Vista. We don't have confirmation of DX10 drivers for 64-bit operating systems, but we have been assured that the driver support will be second to none and that AMD now has a levy over Nvidia measured in weeks - WHQL SLI driver for DirectX 10 or 64-bit Vista isn't expected until April - which is pretty sad. Nvidia has been shipping G80, or GeForce 8800 for almost six months now, and Chimpzilla will in the end ship more Vista WHQL certified dual-GPU systems than a six-month shipping product from their competitor.
This is a brilliant move and pretty much helps not just journalists with their reviews (being spared from all beta driver nonsense), but system integrators as well - drivers are WHQL'ed from day one. This includes not just Radeon X2900 series, but also low-end and mainstream parts under code-names RV610 and RV630, or Radeon X2200 and X2400. AMD decided on the currently final naming convention during last week, and you should not be surprised, since AMD wants to differ from ATI-vs.-NV name struggle of yesteryear.
As we have previously written, if you are a system integrator and are putting the machine together, having a WHQL driver for it means that you will get some dough from Microsoft. Sorry, sales and marketing incentives.
Confidentially, agreement ends on March 15th, aligning with first day of CeBIT, and you can expect that all major AMD partners will run DX10 demos such as one featuring Ruby's younger sister etc. on both CrossFire and SingleFire modes. Many RV610 and RV630 samples will also be making appearance in at least non-functional form, since ATI will have to counter Nvidia's new mainstream and low-end lieblings dubbed G84 and G86. µ
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