To us, the idea of an NDA was silly anyway, since you could have read almost everything about R600 on these very pages, from the technical details of the GPU, PCB, HDMI, real reason for 12" cooler+PCB combo, product lineup and many, many more.
So, what is DAAMIT launching on May 14th? The answer is the Radeon HD 2900XT.
The key features of this GPU were already known about. We have disclosed that this second gen unified shader marchitecture part has 64 Vect5D units and seeing the 320 scalar unit number. Please bear in mind that the rumour that the chip has 64 vect4+scalar was wrong from day one.
Vect4+Scalar is not directly comparable to Nvidia, Vect5D is. So, we have a superscalar marchitecture with 320 scalar processsing units designed in-line with built-in Tessellation hardware, relatively similar to the Xenos chip from Xbox 360. But performance is far beyond we have imagined, and hearing that this is not limited to a certain version of DX10 only speaks of better days for PC gaming.
Geometry performance is vastly improved, as is expected from vect5D based marchitecture, and gamedevs can now use Geometry Shaders, unlike certain green products. Comparison between a single HD2900XT and 8800GTX SLI in geometry shaders will be quite interesting.
Anisotropic filtering and AntiAliasing were vastly improved as well, and R600 marchitecture marks off the start of "NextGen AA". A new AA mode is called Custom Filter AA (CFAA), and it peaks at 24x. 8x MultiSample AA mode was completely changed, so expect some fireworks and comparisons between G80 and R600 hardware. Of course, all existing AA tech is supported.
ATi AVIVO also makes a return in a form of Universal Video Decoder (UVD), scoring 128 on HQV test, and HD2900XT will of course, support high-resolution HDMI (1.2 spec), featuring AC3 5.1 output. When it comes to regular resolutions, Radeon HD2900XT supports both 2560x1560 and 2560x2048.
The board communicates with the computer using a PCIe x16 slot and processing data through internal ring bus and 512-bit external controller (8-channel memory interface). Clocks are set at 742 MHz for the GPU and 1.65 GHz for 512MB of GDDR-3 memory.
AMD promised extremely competitive pricing, and in many cases the HD2900XT will beat the 8800GTX, yet alone the 8800GTS. To boot, the company decided to team up with Valve and offer a free bundle featuring a couple of upcoming hit titles. It is up to the partners to decide how the game will be bundled, but this will be marked as Return of The Coupon, if you remember the Radeon 9800XT launch and the alleged code-leak in Half Life 2 development, which was marked by a year delay.
As Henri Richard said during the last quarterly conference call, AMD will not do a soft launch and HD2900XT boards will be massively available. µ
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