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10. ATI Shows Off World’s First “Evergreen” DirectX 11 Graphics Processor

ATI, graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices, in early June demonstrated the world’s first graphics processing units (GPUs) code-named Evergreen that support the next-generation DirectX 11 application programming interface (API). While AMD’s graphics business unit did not reveal any technical details regarding the graphics chip that was demonstrated, it did say that the novelty is made using 40nm process technology at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Besides, it demonstrated an actual wafer with DirectX 11 chips.  

Perhaps, the news that ATI is the first to demonstrate DirectX 11-compatible graphics processing unit is the most important thing that happened in the first half of 2009. However, we put this event on the 10th position just because it happened a month ago and it was not read by truly massive number of readers. 

ATI DirectX 11 technology demo

ATI Technologies was the first company in the industry to unveil DirectX 9.0-compatible ATI R300 graphics processing unit in July, 2002. At that time its arch-rival Nvidia Corp. had a huge market share and, more importantly, mind-share, which meant that consumers did not expect much from ATI Radeon 9700 graphics chip. However, Nvidia was seven months late with its NV30 and the first graphics board on its base – Nvidia GeForce FX 5800 Ultra – appeared to be slower compared to the Radeon 9700 Pro. Even the successor of the graphics processor, the NV35/GeForce 5900, could not outperform ATI Radeon 9700 Pro and eventually 9800 Pro/9800 XT in pixel shader intensive games since the GeForce FX architecture proved to be very inefficient in execution of pixel shaders.  

Nvidia has learned its lesson: it was the first company to unveil DirectX 9 shader model 3.0 graphics chip as well as the first with the DirectX 10 graphics processing unit, slowly but surely capturing market share from ATI. But it looks like ATI is back: it was the first with DirectX 10.1 chip and now it can demonstrate DirectX 11 GPU, whereas Nvidia is only trying hard to push its proprietary CUDA, GeForce 3D Vision and PhysX technologies.

ATI DirectX 11 GPU silicon

ATI/AMD openly claims that it will be the only DirectX 11 graphics processors supplier in 2009. Besides, according to the graphics chip developer, the first DirectX 11-supporting games will emerge on the market already in 2009 with Codemasters, Phenomic/Electronics Arts, Emergent and Rebellion already developing titles.  

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