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Asustek Computer, a leading maker of mainboards, graphics cards and other computer components, plans to launch the world’s first graphics card with three graphics processing units (GPUs) onboard. The solution is unprecedented from technology point of view, however, its practical viability is under question.

Asus EAH3850 Trinity graphics card carries three MXM modules with ATI Radeon HD 3850 graphics processors onboard, bringing yet unseen performance potential thanks to 960 unified shader processors, 48 texture units and 48 render back ends. There are no details about clock-speeds, moreover, Asustek Computer is currently considering whether to release the EAH Trinity commercially or keep it a concept, reports Nordic Hardware web-site.

The idea of putting MXM modules designed for mobile personal computers onto graphics cards for desktops is not a new one: MicroStar International (MSI) once planned to create a dual-GPU graphics adapter with two MXM modules, but then decided to scrap the plans to launch such a device.

Asus EAH3850 Trinity graphics card. Photo by Nordic Hardware

Asustek’s EAH3850 Trinity graphics card uses heat-pipe-based cooling system, but may also utilize liquid cooling system in order to lower temperatures and make it possible to increase clock-speeds considerably.

The price of MXM modules carrying ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3850 graphics processors is unclear, but usually mobile graphics processors cost more compared to their desktop brethren. As a result, the cost of Asus EAH3850 Trinity may be higher than $500, whereas its actual performance may not be substantially higher compared to dual-chip ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2, which retails for $449.

Asus EAH3850 Trinity graphics card. Photo by Nordic Hardware

It is interesting to note that dual-chip desktop graphics cards based on GeForce 6-series and ATI Radeon X1000-series GPUs first emerged as concept products from companies like Asustek, Gigabyte, GeCube and some other. Only afterwards leading developers of graphics chips introduced their dual-GPU products like GeForce 7900/7950/9800 GX2 or Radeon HD 3870 X2.

Officials for Asustek Computer or ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, did not comment on the news-story.


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