by Anton Shilov
04/08/2008 | 11:25 PM
Asustek Computer on Tuesday formally unveiled its graphics card that carries three graphics processing units (GPUs). The new product promises unprecedented performance amid upgrade option in future, but the actual performance of three-chip graphics sub-system is so dependent on the drivers that the solution may rarely demonstrate its raw horsepower.
“Asus, producer of top quality graphic solutions, has today unveiled the world’s first on-board triple GPU solution with the concept model Asus EAH3850 Trinity/3DHTI/1.5G graphics card. With three RV670PRO GPUs onboard, users can enjoy an astonishing 139% improvement in speeds when compared to single-GPU solutions,” Asustek Computer said in a statement.
Asus EAH3850 Trinity 3DHTI/1.5GB graphics card carries three MXM modules with ATI Radeon HD 3850 graphics processors clocked at 660MHz onboard, bringing yet unseen performance potential thanks to 960 unified shader processors, 48 texture units and 48 render back ends. Each graphics processor is accompanied by 512MB of 1.70GHz GDDR3 memory in order to minimize possible performance bottlenecks.
Since Asus EAH3850 Trinity comes with three MXM modules that can be removed, the manufacturer claims that design allows users to “obtain the flexibility to upgrade the MXM modules” once higher-performance graphics processing is required. One of the problems that end-users may face and that was not touched upon by Asus in its press release is the lack of mobile graphics accelerators in MXM form-factor in retail.
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.
The price of Asus EAH3850 Trinity was not unveiled.
The EAH3850 Trinity utilizes a specially designed liquid cooling solution that effectively dissipates heat away from the three GPUs through heatpipes that are specially connected to the main board of the graphics card instead of the GPUs. Due to the fact that the water cooling solution works well even with upgraded GPU and memory, the hassles of displacing the thermal module when upgrading the MXM modules is avoided for minimized upgrading costs, Asustek said.
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.