ATI Technologies is preparing two graphics processors to be made using 0.11 micron process technology at TSMC. The new chips are likely to deliver higher performance and lower cost compared to processors manufactured using 0.13 micron fabrication process.
According to a report from DigiTimes, ATI will launch production of its code-named R430 and RV410 graphics processors this quarter. Both chips are likely to have micro-architecture similar to that used in today’s RADEON X800-series graphics processors and native support of PCI Express interconnection. Typically, ATI Technologies positions its “R” chips to serve high-end and performance-mainstream markets, while the “RV” graphics processors are intended for entry-level and mainstream segments.
Technical specifications of ATI’s code-named R430 and RV410 chips are not disclosed at this time. Due to the insignificant change of the code-name from the current high-end offering previously code-named R420, the difference between the currently available RADEON X800 PRO as well as RADEON X800 XT products and code-named R430 chip may not be substantial. Last year ATI introduced graphics processor internally called R360 (RADEON 9800 XT) that had the same feature-set, but higher clock-speed compared to the previously launched R350 (RADEON 9800 PRO).
Thinner manufacturing technologies are used to cut-down the manufacturing costs and possibly increase clock-speed of complex processors. It is not clear whether the R430 is a cost-effective version of R420 or its speed-bin with higher potential.
ATI already uses TSMC’s 0.11 micron process technology to produce its entry-level RADEON X300-series graphics chips.
Usually lower end graphics chips feature less pixel and vertex pipes and have commonly cut-down architecture compared to the more expensive parts. Today’s high-performance visual processing units from ATI feature 16 or 12 pixel as well as 6 vertex pipelines. Less powerful RV410 chip may have 8 or 4 pixel pipelines along with 6 or fewer vertex pipes.
ATI’s competitor No.1, NVIDIA Corporation, is also preparing a number of new chips for high-end, mainstream and entry-level market segments to enter in the second half of the year.
Representatives for ATI Technologies did not comment on the story.