by Anton Shilov
04/03/2007 | 11:51 PM
Originally set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2006 ATI’s first DirectX 10-compliant graphics product is now more than a quarter late, which allows Nvidia Corp. to enjoy technology leadership. But in addition to technology-related issues, the ATI R600 is facing “political” reasons with its postponement.
Henri Richard, the sales chief at Advanced Micro Devices, said in an interview that his company could have started to ship the long-anticipated code-named ATI R600 graphics processors (and cards) any time, but the world’s second largest maker of x86 microprocessors decided to wait till the more affordable derivative graphics chips get to the point when AMD can release them commercially and then ship the whole lineup of DirectX 10-compatible products.
“The R600 will be out in the second quarter. The reason we decided to delay the launch was that we wanted to have a complete DX10-enabled solutions top-to-bottom. A lot of people wrote that the reason it is delayed is because of a problem with the silicon, but there is no problem with the silicon. We are demonstrating it. We can ship it today. But if you think about it, looking at where the market is at, the volumes are going to be in the RV610 and RV630, so it makes sense for us to do a one time launch of the entire family of DX10 enabled products,” said Henri Richard in an interview with Hardware Zone web-site.
According to Mr. Richard, his partners, who had nothing new to show at CeBIT 2007 and who are not receiving a good portion of publicity because of the lack of high-end hardware that could compete against the GeForce 8800-series, agreed that the launch of the R600, RV610 and RV630 would make more sense.
“That meant delaying the R600 for a few weeks, but frankly it doesn’t make a difference in the life cycle of the product and talking with our customers and partners, they felt that it would make a bigger impact with one full launch. So we decided to do that,” Mr. Richard is reported to have said.
Specifications of ATI R600 published by a web-site earlier resemble specs revealed by some other sources back in mid-2006, but are not fully similar:
It was also reported that the next-generation graphics chip from AMD’s graphics division formerly known as ATI Technologies will support so-called GPU clustering, which allows to install 2ⁿ number of GPUs (4, 8, 16, 32, etc), though it is unclear whether this is something new, as ATI’s graphics chips supported multi-GPU capability for professional solutions from companies like Evans & Sutherland for many years now. In addition, it was revealed that the R600 chip is compatible with “draft DX10.1 vendor-specific cap removal” application programming interface, something, which is unlikely to be utilized for a substantial amount of time.