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Old 24th April, 2005, 12:52 AM
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ATI's new R5xx chips are PCI-E as well as AGP

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Slides that presumably come from ATI’s confidential roadmap which were leaked into the Internet recently indicate that the company’s forthcoming graphics chips code-named R520, RV530 and RV515 will support both types of interconnection interface – PCI Express and AGP 8x.

HKEPC web-site published a slide marked as ATI’s 2005 Desktop Roadmap and containing information about possible launch timeframes for ATI’s desktop visual processing units (VPUs) internally called as R520, RV530 and RV515. The R520 will, according to the slide, be available sometimes in the second quarter. The RV530 will be released sometimes in the Q3 2005, whereas the launch of the RV515 is scheduled towards the Q4 2005. All of those chips will exist in AGP 8x and PCI Express x16 interfaces. It is unclear how old the roadmap is.

ATI’s R520 is ATI’s next-generation high-end VPU to power graphics cards that cost from $400 to $550, the RV530 is presumably targeted at performance-mainstream segment with $200 - $350 graphics cards, while the RV515 is a mainstream graphics processor presumably to power products that cost less than $200.

The slide also notes that the chips are to be made using 90nm process technology, which may indicate that the manufacturing process is cost-effective even for mainstream components. The diagram also reveals that the R5-series chips will have “Kaleidoscope Consumer Electronics quality display controller”, but it is unclear what exactly the technology is about.

A representative for ATI’s top graphics cards partner Sapphire Electronics recently said ATI would release its next-generation high-end product R520 in June. Still, not much is known about the architecture and capabilities of the code-named R520 product that was initially referred as the R500. What is clear now is that the new graphics chip will sport Shader Model 3.0 – pixel shaders 3.0 and vertex shaders 3.0 – bringing additional programming capabilities to ATI’s future graphics processors as well as some other innovations.

Specifications of ATI’s code-named R520 VPU are unclear at this time. Some sources suggest that the chip may have up to 32 pixel pipelines and up to 350 million transistors, which makes the processor extremely complex. However, given that a new fabrication process is to be used for the manufacturing of R520, it is unlikely that the visual processing unit will be tremendously large in terms of transistor count and complex in terms of the number of pipelines. Fabless semiconductor designers tend to balance complexity of their chips for new fabrication processes. For instance, since 2002, ATI has not launched manufacturing of high-end graphics chips using a new process technology unless the technology was tested on mainstream chips. Still, even on relatively new manufacturing processes, ATI has set pretty high clock-speeds for its VPUs.

Representative for ATI Technologies never comment on unreleased products publicly.
Once again, anton from XBIT is the source, which can be found HERE

According to my sources, these cards are taped out, working, and in the back hallways of ATI, as they have been for the past 6 months. Rumours of issues with DirectX and SM3.0 have been squashed, and the card looks to be an awesome performer. I have bolded the last part of the quote for a reason...ATI is under non-disclosure from Microsoft, so no details will come about these new chips until the XBOX360 is unveiled in a few weeks, or so i have been told. Microsoft, of course, wants the jump on SONY, who will be launching thier product just hours ahead of the machine from Microsoft.

On the XBOX360 front, seems that although the pictures that have been revealed of the past few days are of a actual working XBOX360, the design may change slightly when it hits retail...but not very much. Pretty much what we have seen is what we will be able to buy in the fall.
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Old 24th April, 2005, 01:02 AM
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Interesting stuff! SM 3.0 on ATI will be a good thing.

I had heard that it might be SM3.x, i.e. something higher than 3.0.
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Old 24th April, 2005, 01:17 AM
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You'll have to talk to ATI on that one

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Old 24th April, 2005, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danrok
Interesting stuff! SM 3.0 on ATI will be a good thing.

I had heard that it might be SM3.x, i.e. something higher than 3.0.
There isnt going to be, or at least their shouldnt ever be a shader model 3.x. The SM4.0 specification has already been made, so the next generation will be using that.

The most interesting thing there is an RV515 AGP, which might be just what ATI needs to recapture the mainstream 3d market. Very nice to see that the X600/X700 PCI-E only train of thought has gone out the window.

Also strange that pixel pipelines are mentioned, when ATI said themselves that they intended to scrap pixel pipelines in favour of a unified shader pipe design.

I cant wait to see how well the SM3.0 implementation that ATI use stacks up to the 6800 SM3.0 implementation. Nvidia is on the verge of releasing their first SM3.0 designed driver, so we might just wait and see.
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Old 24th April, 2005, 03:24 AM
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The ATI SM3.0 should fare just as well as the nVidia counterpart, and from what i hear, maybe even 15% better.

Unified shader pipes will happen with the next DX SM protocol, but not until then, from what i have read. I have also heard that they are still playing with the code to find out what order to texture the vertex data in a unified pipe...as this is what will make or break a top-level performer, and not much else.

In regards to the number of pixel pipelines, well....

90nm tech. Raw speed will only be limited by memory mhz and timings, besides heat. 1.2v-1.6v running voltages for the GPU.
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Old 24th April, 2005, 03:46 PM
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From xbit as well.
Quote:

ATI Technologies’ developer relations manager Richard Huddy said during a conference in November, 2004, that the company’s future visual processing units would feature unified pixel and shader processing. While he declined to elaborate on the timeframes for such chips, he said unified pixel and vertex data processing was a required capability for Windows Graphics Foundation 2.0 that comes out together with Microsoft’s next-generation operating system called Windows Longhorn. On of the benefits the unified approach brings is ability to dynamically allocate chip resources depending on the demand for pixel and vertex processing, Mr. Huddy said. Another one is simplified software development.

Some sources claim that the R500 is a code-name of ATI’s graphics processor that will be submitted for Microsoft’s next Xbox console. The shader core of the R500 was reported to have 48 Arithmetic Logic Units (ALUs) that can execute 64 simultaneous threads on groups of 64 vertices or pixels. ALUs are automatically and dynamically assigned to either pixel or vertex processing depending on load. The ALUs can each perform one vector and one scalar operation per clock cycle, for a total of 96 shader operations per clock cycle. Texture loads can be done in parallel to ALU operations. At peak performance, the GPU can issue 48 billion shader operations per second, it was indicated.
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Old 24th April, 2005, 04:20 PM
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Here's some more, related more specifically to the XBOX360, rather than the ATI retail line-up.
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The world’s first 512MB graphics card is powered by ATI’s latest RADEON X850 XT visual processing unit (VPU) with 16 pixel and 6 vertex pipelines clocked at 520MHz. The graphics card’s 512MB of GDDR3 SDRAM operate at 1080MHz speed and have 256-bit memory interface. While 512MB of onboard memory seems astonishing, that large amount of DDR3 may not boost performance in present games, but provide some benefits for titles that are in the works at this point of time.

ATI’s spokeswoman Patricia Mikula told X-bit labs the RADEON X850 XT 512MB graphics cards were intended to demonstrate the next-generation capability to gamers and then send the similar boards to game developers. She declined to comment whether the company’s next-breed of graphics cards powered by the upcoming code-named R520 VPU would have 512MB of memory onboard, even though this would be a logical projection for the company’s roadmap. Ms Mikula also said the company was considering commercial RADEON X850 512MB products for PCI Express x16 bus, but the final decision has not been made
So, the reason for the 512mb cards is for development for the XBOX360, and it's games. Because of the architecture of the r5xx series, and they way the r480 deals with vertex data much differently, the extra memory was needed to allow programmers to optimize thier code for the "360"...ATI could not release the r5xx cards to programmer becasue of the NDA with microsoft, and was able to get similar performance numbers that will scale to the r500 almost perfectly...as the card has a larger framebuffer, and hence ther is less need for shader data to be sourced continually..just load it all to G-mem, and away you go.

The programmers needed someting to work with...

ON the r5xx memory front, GDDR4 is looking to be a real possibility on these cards, but that may have been delayed as an introduction to the market, now that samsung has 512mb blocks of GDDR3. What i do know for sure is that the r5xx series need MEGA memory bandwidth, and timings are not a very important factor...sure tighter timings will give a small speed boost, but paying for such mem does not justify the cost when an increase in bandwidth is cheaper to implement. The current 512mb X850's (some 3500 of them out there, i hear...can't wait for the r5xx to come out so i can get one of these cards out of a "Mac-rosoft", or a "dellard"; bioware has thier main offices in the same building as my son's dentist, and i have snuck in there a few times now). The shipping of these 512mb cards is why you can find alot of X800XTPE cards for sale used right now.

the only question is whether the GDDR4 that samsung is producing in small numbers is shipping to ATI or the competition.
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Last edited by cadaveca; 24th April, 2005 at 05:20 PM.
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