Technologies that can utilize the power of numerous graphics processing units (GPUs) for rendering have existed for years, but never were popular enough for the mass market. But ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, believes that the future of high-performance graphics sub-systems lies in the multi-GPU space. Though, the company does not explain what kind of multi-GPU is the future.
“AMD simply aren’t interested in building large monolithic GPUs any more, instead preferring to scale their offerings via multi-GPU,” Richard Huddy, developer relations chief at AMD’s graphics product group said at Develop conference, reports Beyond3D web-site.
The problem, according to Mr. Huddy, lies in the fact that graphics processors tend to be smaller and smaller, as manufacturing processes become thinner and going forward it would hardly be possible to equip high-performance, yet small, chips with wide memory busses, which means that their performance may be somewhat limited with the lack of enough memory bandwidth. As a result, ATI/AMD will focus on multi-GPU graphics sub-systems going forward, rather than on creating large monolithic graphics chips.
It is not completely clear whether AMD plans to cease developing graphics chips designed for graphics cards that cost $399 and more, but will just place a necessary number of mainstream GPUs onto a print-circuit board to get a high-performance graphics card.
Theoretically, multi-GPU solution may mean either several similar GPUs, like in the case of today’s ATI CrossFire or Nvidia SLI solutions, or several different GPUs, like in the case of Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo 2 solutions, where different chips performed different actions.
Nowadays graphics processors contain several key components, e.g., texture units, shader processors, render back ends, memory controller and so on. Theoretically, certain of such devices can function as standalone chips.