Even though ATI, graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices, demonstrated the planet’s first DirectX 11 graphics processing unit (GPU) back at Computex Taipei trade-show in early June, 2009, actual launch date of the processor is still unclear, at least, based on unofficial information.
There are reports over the Internet that ATI may release its chip known under “RV870” and “Evergreen” code-names in September or October. However, ATI-Forum.de web-site claims that the first DirectX 11 chip from ATI is only due in November. It is rather clear that ATI will do its best to deliver DirectX 11 hardware inline with the launch of Windows 7 and DirectX 11 in late October, 2009, however, it uncertain whether the company manages to ensure high enough supply of the processor at launch.
Earlier this year, due to low yields at 40nm node of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, AMD could not obtain enough chips to fulfill the demand towards its ATI RV740 (ATI Radeon HD 4770) chip aimed at volume entry-level market segment. In fact, ATI and TSMC were running test manufacturing of RV740 for many months ahead of launch: one the first samples were made back in October, 2008, a long time before the launch in April ’09.
The key new innovations of DirectX 11 are Compute Shaders, Tessellation, Multi-Threaded Rendering, HDR Compression, Dynamic Shader Linkage and numerous others. The new capabilities will enable richer graphics experience as well as standardized approach for using GPUs for general-purpose computing (GPGPU), which will allow game developers to use graphics chips for computing of artificial intelligence, physics effects and so on.
Despite rumoured issues with the yield of the next-gen chip that has high chances to carry Radeon HD 5000-series name, ATI/AMD is confident that it will be the first company on the market with the DirectX 11-supporting hardware.