by Anton Shilov
05/21/2008 | 03:27 PM
ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, on Wednesday unveiled the first official details regarding its next-generation ATI Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs). The chips will utilize GDDR5 memory and, more importantly, will not be exceptionally big, which guarantees their relatively lost costs, but forces the company to rely on multi-GPU technologies to address higher-end markets.
“The days of monolithic mega-chips are gone. Being first to market with GDDR5 in our next-generation architecture, AMD is able to deliver incredible performance using more cost-effective GPUs,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of graphics product group at AMD.
GDDR5 is the next-generation memory standard for applications that require tremendous amount of bandwidth, primarily graphics cards. The new standard provides substantially higher clock-speeds and some additional functionality, such as error detection mechanisms that may be useful in high-performance computing applications that rely on general purpose calculations performed on GPUs.
“AMD believes that GDDR5 is the optimal way to drive performance gains while being mindful of power consumption. We’re excited about the potential GDDR5 brings to the table for innovative game development and even more exciting game play,” Mr. Bergman added.
AMD is working with a number of leading memory providers, including Samsung, Hynix and Qimonda, to bring GDDR5 to market. However, Qimonda is the supplier of initially available GDDR5 chips for ATI Radeon graphics cards.
“Qimonda’s strong GDDR5 roadmap convinced us to choose them as a primary technology partner for our GDDR5 GPU launch. Both the early availability of first samples and volume shipments added great value to the development and launch of our upcoming high-performance GPU,” said Joe Macri, senior director of circuit technologies at AMD.
Presently Qimonda has 512Mb (16Mx32) GDDR5 chips at 3.60GHz, 4.0GHz and 4.50GHz clock-speeds in PG-TFBGA-170 packages in production. It is interesting to note that current-generation GDDR3 chips from Qimonda use PG-TFBGA-136 packing, which means that GDDR5 has more pins and requires more complex print-circuit boards of graphics cards.
According to preliminary information from various media reports, the new code-named ATI RV770 graphics chip made using 55nm process technology will have 480 unified shader processors (or 96 5-way VLIW processors), 32 texture units, 16 render back end, a new generation video engine and 256-bit memory interface. Certain reports claim that ATI plans to release ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 and ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB GDDR3 models initially at $349 and $249 price-points, whereas a more powerful ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is set to be available at a later date.