ATI, graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices, plans to release its new flagship dual-chip graphics board sometime in Q4 2009, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. The new board is code-named Hemlock and it will replace the Radeon HD 4870 X2, which has been the top-of-the-range offering from ATI for over a year now.
At present there are no precise details about ATI Radeon HD 5870 X2 “Hemlock” graphics card available, but it can be expected that the product will feature 2GB of GDDR5 memory as well as numerous digital outputs, including DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI. Actual performance and other specifications will be determined a little closer to the release dates and will depend on competitive position of AMD’s graphics business unit.
At present ATI plans to release five DirectX 11 graphics processors aiming different market segments. All of presently known DX11-supporging graphics processing units (GPUs) from ATI will be made using 40nm fabrication process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company; hence, the initial success of the new product line will depend on yields at the contract maker of semiconductors.
Based on the currently available information, ATI’s DirectX 11 family will consist of the following products:
- Hemlock - dual-chip flagship graphics solutions powered by two RV870 chips (originally known as R800);
- Cypress – single-chip high-performance graphics solution based on RV870 chip that will replace ATI Radeon HD 4890;
- Juniper – single chip performance graphics solution that will replace the remaining Radeon HD 4870 and 4850 graphics boards. It is highly likely that this one is based on the RV870 as well;
- Redwood – single chip mainstream graphics solution(s) based on RV830 chip that will replace both RV730 and RV740-based solutions;
- Cedar – single chip entry-level graphics solution(s) based on RV810 chip;
Starting from the DirectX 11 family, ATI started to use code-names instead of code-numbers for its graphics chips and boards. Even though ATI used to name internal designs of graphics cards, it continued to utilize code-numbers to describe the GPU cores. One of the advantage that numeric code-names have is clear attribution of a chip to the particular family and apparent positioning of the chip within the family.
ATI demonstrated its first DirectX 11 graphics processors at Computex Taipei 2009 in early June, however, it did not outline any actual timeframes for introduction. There are unofficial reports over the Internet that ATI may release its chip known under “RV870” and “Evergreen” code-names in September or October. However, there are also claims that ATI Radeon HD 5000-series is only due in November.
ATI/AMD did not comment on the news-story.