Saturday, February 28, 2009

AMD’s High-Performance Graphics Update Not Expected to Radically Boost Performance

Despite of rumours floating around the Internet, ATI’s (graphics products group of Advanced Micro Devices) approaching update for the high-performance graphics segment will not bring in considerable performance improvements as the new product will just feature improved clock-speeds over existing graphics boards.

According to industrial sources with knowledge of the matter, the code-named ATI RV790 graphics processing unit is nothing else but the already shipping ATI RV770 chip with higher clock-speeds. The new processor can operate at higher frequencies since its design is slightly refined, certain erratums (which do not affect performance or stability of the RV770) are corrected and process technology adjustments are made.

ATI RV770/790 graphics processing units feature 800 stream processors, 40 texture units, 16 render back ends as well as 256-bit memory bus compatible with GDDR3, GDDR4 and GDDR5 memory types. The RV790 will feature higher clock-speeds, but not increased number of execution units.

Performance increases of the graphics card that is projected to be called ATI Radeon HD 4890 over the existing Radeon HD 4870 1GB should not be high as the difference between two products will be increases of clock-speeds. In case the graphics card designer decides to release ATI Radeon HD 4890 X2, performance gain should be modest as well.

"This is exactly the same situation as in the case of transition from ATI Radeon 9800 Pro to ATI Radeon 9800 XT back in 2003, performance gain will not be massive," a person wished to remain anonymous said.

ATI is known for working on different speed-bins of various processors, for instance, its ATI R300 (Radeon 9700), R350 (Radeon 9800 Pro) and R360 (Radeon 9800 XT) were essentially the same chip, but could function at completely different clock-speeds. ATI/AMD has now chosen the same option since it does not immediately need a new GPU in the current competitive and market environments.

The recent history of graphics processing units does not know examples when a company introduced a brand-new GPU with new internal design that would only be 20% - 30% faster compared to predecessor in the same price-range. Therefore, the information about increased number of stream processors inside RV790 is not correct, according to sources with known of the situation.

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