/ Features Of ATI's Radeon
out NV and 3dfx a sleeper just woke
All of the
demonstrations and meetings were very compelling
but we were there for the Radeon.
The Radeon product
we were shown was a 64MB DDR Video-In Video-Out (ViVo)
board clocked at 183MHz. core and 183MHz. memory
Initial announced specs were for a
200/200MHz clocked product but DDR memory
available today in quantity simply cant run at
that speed reliably, so the decision was made to
lower the shipping speed.
Our initial tests show the Radeon core can
easily handle (and surpass) 200MHz., so when
higher speed DDR memory is readily available, the
possibility of a Radeon Ultra is there. (No
official word from ATI on this though just our
There will be a
whole line of Radeon powered products coming down
the assembly line.
Initially, starting today (July 17, 2000),
the 64MB DDR ViVo product we were shown and a 32MB
DDR variant clocked at 166/166 will be shipping,
with a 32MB SDRAM and an All-In-Wonder product to
follow later in the year (no official date was
given, but a late Q3 2000 / early Q4 estimate was
- 30 million
transistors, in a .18 micron technology,
giving it a higher transistor count than CPUs
such as the Pentium III and Athlon.
- 183 MHz &
166MHz. Core Clock (potentially higher)
- First chip to
support up to 128MB of double-data rate (DDR)
memory at 200MHz. (shipping at 183MHz. &
- Scalable Core
Architecture Supporting ATI's "MAXX"
Multiple ASIC Technology
- Hardware T&L
- Full Scene Order
Independent Anti-Aliasing via 4X Super
- ATIs Charisma
Engine, which incorporates a 30 million
triangle per second geometry engine as well as
radical new 3D character animation techniques.
- Single chip
break through of the Gigatexel barrier with an
awesome 1.5 Gigatexel per second rendering
- First with
hardware support for 3D shadows.
- First with all
DX7 bump mapping effects (emboss, dot product
3 and EMBM).
- First with
advanced DX8 pixel shader effects.
- First with 3D
texture support for new volumetric effects.
- First PC
graphics chip to include an on-chip hardware
- High quality
video filters capable of operating at full
- On-chip HDTV
decoder which eliminates the requirement for
separate HDTV decoder cards which add cost and
reduce picture quality.
- On-chip HDTV
display interface for new HDTV displays.
transport stream interface to connect directly
to HDTV tuner boards.
- Improved DVD
- Patent pending
adaptive de-interlacing algorithms which
result in unparalleled video quality for
interlaced TV and HDTV video streams.
will be as follows:
DDR ViVo (183/183) MSRP=$399
(estimated street price $349)
DDR (166/166) MSRP=$279 (estimated street price $249)
SDRAM (166/166) MSRP=$199
32MB DDR (TBA) MSRP=TBA
(this new All-In-Wonder will ship with a new
"tweaked" version of ATI's TV Tools
that will offer a "live pause"
feature and downloadable local channel
listings. The card will also scale image
quality to capture mpeg-2 video without
dropped frames on as low as a PII 300.)
The Radeon chip is
the most feature rich product currently available.
initial editorial covers most of the
specifications, but this chart tells more of
Features For "Today"
The great thing
about the new features the Radeon brings to market
is that they will all be integrated into DirectX8
or are already available in OpenGL.
There will be no proprietary coding
required on the part of Game Developers.
We viewed 2 video taped conversations
between ATI and John Carmack and between ATI and
Tim Sweeny. When
asked about the Radeons new features both were
excited and already had ideas in mind about
implementing them into future products.
A demo called Radeons
Ark was run to showcase the Radeon's new
in depth in our Charisma Engine preview
The demo was run
using the 64MB ViVo board on a 900mhz system.
Radeons Ark uses over 100MB of textures,
and throughout the entire demo there was very
little perceivable slow-down.
7/17 - "Radeon's Ark"
can see a Quick Time clip of this movie here
(8MB), which we have made available on the "H.H.
There are also other
pieces of the "Radeon's Ark" clip for
you here (5MB) and here
demonstrated the high-polygon models the Radeon
chip is capable of using with its 2nd
Generation T&L engine.
It also shows the more realistic animation
achievable using 4-Matrix skinning:
All models and the
fish you see in the above picture were made using
this technique. These new features are already
being implemented into some games, which will be
Siege" will be among the first games
using 4-Matrix skinning.
The interior of the
fish tank is using 3 textures.
The 3 texture units per pipeline allow the
Radeon to map all 3 textures in a single pass.
Rendering the above scene on a competitors
high-end product would require a second pass
resulting in a substantial performance hit.
A third texture unit also allows for the addition
of something called a "detail texture"
on a normally dual-textured model. When you
walk right up to a wall in Quake 3, you'll notice
things start to "wash out" and get
blurry. If a detail texture is used, as you
get close to the wall, another texture will get
mapped that shows the detail in the wall.
Technically this can be done with other cards but
again with a performance hit. The
capabilities of this third texture unit per
pipeline will be exploited in the upcoming games
Tribes 2 and Team Fortress 2.
Radeons Ark show us features we can
realistically expect from future games, not just
what a specially created demo can do.
The Radeon also
supports virtually every form of bump mapping
currently in use.
Reading through our Charisma
Engine preview you will see what a few
types of bump mapping look like.
Besides what you see there, the Radeon can
also do Cube Environment Mapping:
And Dual Parabolic
The list of
features is impressive indeed but all the features
in the world mean very little if the performance
is not there.
After a few hours of conversation and
demonstrations, we were allowed to break off into
a separate room and test the Radeon privately.
test system was as follows...
command performance from the Radeon