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Following the Wednesday’s claims from ATI Technologies President and COO, Mr. Dave Orton, Advanced Micro Devices uncovered some of ATI’s plans concerning chipsets for AMD’s 64-bit microprocessors during AMD Reseller Seminar in Korea yesterday.

Apparently, the Markham, Ontario-based ATI Technologies has two core-logic products in the works for AMD64 platform – the RS480 with DirectX 9.0 integrated graphics as well as discrete RX480. There is also ATI IXP400 South Bridge to come, according to the slides published by this web-site.

ATI RS480 will, as expected yesterday, boast with PCI Express interconnections support, as well as incorporate a DirectX 9.0 graphics core. It is projected to be sampled in the first quarter of 2004 and will go into mass production sometime in the second or the third quarters next year. The chipset will have Unified Memory Architecture for its graphics core, therefore, do not expect its integrated DX9 RADEON logic to offer you stunning speed in demanding DirectX 9.0 applications. ATI RX480 is the same as RS480, but without any integrated graphics – probably a simple PCI Express 16x (PEG x16) tunnel.

ATI IXP400 is said to provide 4 Serial ATA-150 ports, Parallel ATA-100/133 support, 8 USB 2.0 ports, AC’97 audio and so on. The South Bridge is scheduled for sampling in the Q1 2004 and for mass-production in Q2/Q3 2004.

There are other chipset companies hinting at SMA (Shared Memory Architecture) aka UMA (Unified Memory Architecture) in their next-generation chipsets with integrated graphics for Athlon 64 and 64 FX microprocessors. The architecture that proved its efficiency from price and performance standpoints may become a rather unattractive on AMD’s 64-bit processors, though. AMD64 chips have integrated memory controller, while traditional desktop platforms incorporate memory controller inside the North Bridge so that system memory could be easily shared between the processor, integrated graphics core and other components. Since AMD64 memory controller is located inside the CPU, graphics core from the North Bridge of a chipset will have to communicate with RAM via HyperTransport PSB that may cause additional latencies and slow the overall performance of the integrated core.

Speaking about integrated chipsets, particularly about core-logic for mobile computers at the Merrill Lynch Hardware Heaven Technology Conference in early May 2003, Mr. David Orton said that his company planned to continue moving integrated graphics with DirectX 8.1 support into mobile segment throughout the year, but also intended to bring DirectX 9.0-supporting integrated chipset in the fourth quarter 2003 or in 2004, probably in the first half of maybe even the first quarter. It looks like the schedules for the chipsets have been rearranged, though, ATI’s intention to bring DirectX 9 into integrated segment remained stable.

Intel Corporation, VIA Technologies, NVIDIA Corporation and Silicon Integrated systems this year also unveiled plans to offer chipset products with DirectX 9 graphics cores. All of them, with exception of Intel, will release core-logic products for AMD64 platform.


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