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FireGL 5600 OpenGL performance surprises

Tiny 128-bit chip eats OpenGL apps for breakfast
Tue Aug 28 2007, 15:23
EVER SINCE WE saw the first results of the FireGL V3600, entry-level workstation card from ATI we saw that ATI had created a OpenGL monster with its R600 series of GPUs.

On a reasonable workstation powered by Intel dual-core processor and a ton of memory, the V5600 with 512MB GDDR-3 memory mounted a serious challenge for current high-end Quadros, the FX from 4000 and 5000 series. Keep in mind that this is a mainstream card, not one of the high-end ones and is powered by a GL version of the RV630 graphics chip - that's the same one that is getting its rear well and truly served in consumer applications by the 8600GTS. In the professional world, the situation is exactly the opposite.

In Cinebench R10, the board scored 5769 CB-GFX points, compared to 5188 index points for CB-CPU in dual-core mode. This speaks in order of magnitude, increasing performance over previous mainstream generation cards by over two times, and reaching for the top.

The RV630GL graphics chip spots 24 vec5D units, or 120 superscalar shader processors as ATI and Nvidia like to call them. We won't go into the whole difference between a fully-fledged shader processor: 24 are present in this board, 96 other units are simplified MADD units.

Now we're really wondering how the 64 vec5D units perform in fully-fledged R600GL, with 1 or 2 GB of GDDR-4 memory and a beastly 512-bit memory controller. This means that ATI will overtake Quadro in a fight for the performance crown for the very first time.

We remind you that even the GeForce FX based Quadro cards were significantly outperfoming competing products on the market. It's interesting how times change - AMD's PR is keeping its mouth shut over this brilliant generation of cards. µ

L'INQ
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