AMD preps graphics bomb for Nvidia - New Radeon 4800 series will bethe fastest GPU ever



AMD is preparing to drop its newest GPU, codenamed RV770

Rumours involving the next 3D chip from AMD's graphics division ATI
are reaching critical mass. The new GPU, codenamed RV770 and expected
to be marketed as the Radeon 4800 series, promises to be the fastest
GPU ever.

It could be unveiled in a matter of weeks

If true, it will be a long overdue victory for ATI and a timely blow
for its increasingly smug rival, Nvidia. The weight of opinion on
RV770 now points to a chip with 480 stream processors, 32 texture
samplers and 16 render output units. All told, RV770 is expected to
weigh in at over 800 million transistors.

The most complex GPU currently offered by ATI, the Radeon 3870,
squeezes 320 stream processors, 16 textures and 16 render output units
into a 666 million transistor budget. It most other regards, RV770 is
expected to carry over the DirectX 10.1-compliant architecture of the
existing Radeon 3800 series.

AMD's mean 55nm machine

It will likewise be bashed out on the same 55nm silicon node by
production partner TSMC in Taiwan. What's more, the rumours suggest it
will still use the 3800's 256-bit memory bus. However, it's expected
to up the effective data rate to nearly 4GHz courtesy of some fancy
new GDDR5 memory chips.

It's a bigger, beefier version of the Radeon 3800 series rather than
an all-new chip, in other words. Based purely on the raw architectural
layout, RV770 ought to be around 50 per cent quicker than the best
single-chip Radeon 3870 boards available today. However, the 4800 will
also bring a boost in GPU core clockspeeds.

It's thought the headline frequency will increase from 775MHz to
around 850MHz. It's also just possible ATI will copy Nvidia's split-
frequency-domain approach and clock the RV770's stream processors even
higher. If so, look out for stream processor clocks somewhere north of

Teraflop chip

All in all, it's predicted RV770 will just breach the magical 1TFlop
barrier for raw compute performance. It should also be easily a big
enough bomb to flatten Nvidia's best single-chip graphics card, the
GeForce 9800 GTX.

And that in itself will be awfully big news. ATI hasn't led the market
since the introduction of the Radeon X1950 series way back in August
2006. Nearly two years is an awfully long time to be second best.

What's less clear is whether single-chip RV770 boards will have enough
fire power to beat the best existing dual-GPU boards from both ATI
itself and Nvidia. However, that's a somewhat moot point. For
starters, ATI is also prepping a dual-chip variant of the 4800 series,
codenamed R700.

Moreover, dual-chip graphics cards tend to be rather unreliable
beasts. We've little doubt enthusiasts will welcome a new single-chip
card that lifts the bar for performance.

What about the green team?

All of which just leaves the question of how long it takes Nvidia to
respond. The configuration of Nvidia's next heavyweight GPU, codenamed
GT200, is still the subject of some debate.

However, a German language website recently claimed that Nvidia has
confirmed the chip will pack one billion transistors. If so, it will
clearly be more complex than ATI's RV770.

But when will GT200 appear? Given the recent roll out of the 9800 GTX,
it's hard to see Nvidia releasing another new high end graphics
chipset before late summer.

For now, AMD will only say that RV770 is out soon. We'd put good money
on a late May launch date for RV770. But even a few months at the top
would do wonders for both the image of the ATI brand and morale at AMD
and ATI in general.

By Jeremy Laird

Beladi Nasrallah

It's a bigger, beefier version of the Radeon 3800 series rather than
an all-new chip, in other words.

That's why I bought a 3870 card, and did not wait for the 4000 series
card. Because the architecture would be the same, I would not expect
the quality of image or other similar characteristics to improve. The
power of 3870 was more than enough to play almost all of the games on
the market (the games of interest to me). It gets more transistors, so
that it becames hotter and more power-hungry, and that was not what I
was looking for (for my current rig).

fun guy

AirRaid said:
AMD is preparing to drop its newest GPU, codenamed RV770

Now we just need some good PC games to run on it because other than that POS
Crysis everything is running Dandy and not much is coming out it seems.
Oh maybe MS FightSim X as well but I have that away.

Think I'll buy a Wii instead.

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