There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed - W. Somerset Maugham
The firm already talks about its second generation of unified Shaders, since its first generation implementation works happily in thousands of Xbox 360 consoles sold world-wide.
This is they key message that ATI passed the Italian press and a few of us international chaps here in sunny Milan.
The essence is the same, but the GPU we know as R600 is about to be faster and more powerful than the Xenos, Xbox 360 graphic chip. We don't know the exact details but we expect more Pixel Shader units, possibly 64.
ATI wants to make big fuss about unified Shader as this is the only way to make the things efficient. Second reason, or perhaps the primary one is that ATI will be able to fully support unified Shader while Nvidia stated a few times it won't rush things with this technology.
The R580 working with Shader model 3.0 can process 48 pixels and eight vertex per clock. There is always a pixel to vertex Shader ratio that you have to make when you design the chip.
Unified Shader and Shader model 4.0 hardware will be able to process much more pixels and Shaders. Hypothetically if you have a chip that supports 64 unified Shaders that means you can get choose the full 64-pixel operations or 64 vertex operations or any balance between the two such as 20 pixel ops and 44 vertex ops.
DirectX 10 will allow more objects per scene and more bones per object, but that's another thing all over again.
They key point is that ATI wants to spread the message that it will be ready with fully DirectX 10 capable hardware that will support Shader model 4.0 and unified Shaders. µ
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