Time is passing by and former ATI Technologies that is currently a division of Advanced Micro Devices doesn’t seem to be slowing down the tempo that they set back in late June of 2008 when they launched RV770 graphics processor. Back then this GPU almost completely transformed the general idea of the pricing and potential of gaming graphics accelerators. ATI’s eternal rival, Nvidia, was momentarily dethroned and started losing their market positions immediately. They managed to really strike back only once since then: by launching a refreshed modification of the dual-processor GeForce GTX 295 graphics adapter, which we have already told you about in one of our previous reviews.
This is a perfect example how successfully chosen strategy may provide a long-term advantage, and the arguable one cause numerous disappointments. As is known, AMD/ATI bet on pretty high-performance, but not very complex and expensive mainstream graphics processor, as the highest demanded solution in the market, and Nvidia, on the contrary, decided to play its cards with the most powerful monolithic chip. We all know what the outcome of these strategic decisions was. ATI Radeon HD 4800 family rapidly became extremely popular due to the highest performance at a very acceptable price point, and the absence of a super-powerful single-processor solution in AMD’s lineup was easily compensated by combining two RV770 on a single card.
At the same time, Nvidia had to rush the GeForce GTX 200 prices down, simplify the PCB layouts and urgently transfer G200 to a finer manufacturing process in order to make up for the possible losses resulting from the arguable strategic decision. Finally, ATI’s main competitor managed to stop the leakage of the market share, but at the point there was a new wonder-weapon being prepared deep inside AMD labs. Right from the start it was intended to strike a really crushing blow, namely, to launch the world’s first graphics processor with DirectX 11 support.
Moreover, they were not going to veer away from the general strategy: the main striking force was supposed to be the relatively inexpensive graphics processor codenamed Cypress. Just like with RV770, the tandem of two graphic cores like that codenamed Hemlock will be responsible for the breakthrough in the high-performance segment. And in the performance, mainstream and entry-level segments we will see other cores called Juniper, Redwood and Cedar, respectively.
Today is a very important day for the Advanced Micro Devices graphics division: for the first time they are going to introduce to the public their main weapon in the upcoming battle for the DirectX 11 compatible graphic card market.
Will Cypress prove up to the expectations? We will try to answer this question in reference to the performance in actual currently existing games. Unfortunately, there are no applications that would take advantage of the DirectX 11 functionality that is why it is hard to tell if the new ATI graphics processor will be an excellent solution for the today’s infrastructure or will most likely become the basis for AMD’s upcoming graphics products.