Second Impact: Power Color Develops Own Dual-Chip Graphics Card
For many years suppliers of graphics cards have not developed a single own-design high-end graphics board because both ATI Technologies and Nvidia Corp. did not let anyone to change their reference designs and controlled the production process of their high-end graphics solutions. But it looks like ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, has changed its mind and Power Color was allowed to create its own ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 board.
Power Color’s dual-chip ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics card looks completely differently compared to ATI’s original X2 model. The version from the maker of add-in-cards has higher print-circuit board, different cooler, different power supply circuitry and, most importantly, it carries GDDR4 memory onboard instead of GDDR3 on reference design.
Power Color clocks graphics processing unit (GPU) at 825MHz, just according to recommendations of ATI, however, memory chips operate at 2250MHz, up considerably from the frequency of typical Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics cards. Despite of possible expectations, GDDR4-based graphics adapter should cost only about $20 more compared to GDDR3 version, which is not a huge hike considering potential performance increase that the card from Power Color should bring. The manufacturer expects the new product to reach the market sometime in late-March or early-April.
But the new ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics card may have a relatively short lifespan. A rumour says that ATI R700, the graphics accelerator based on two ATI RV770 processors is on-track to be released in mid-2008. If the information is correct, then Power Color’s own-made X2 board will only have about three months of life left. Still, it is a nice news that graphics cards vendors started to develop graphics cards themselves: this should ensure that going forward there will be graphics boards based on similar GPUs at different price-levels offering different performance (we do hope nobody plans to down performance of solutions vs. reference design).