Friday, November 7th 2008

AMD to Give RV770 a Refresh, G200b Counterattack Planned

The RV770 graphics processor changed AMD's fortunes in the graphics processor industry and put it back in the race for supremacy over the larger rival NVIDIA. The introduction of RV770-based products had a huge impact on the mid-range and high-end graphics card markets, which took NVIDIA by surprise. Jen-Hsun Huang, the CEO of NVIDIA has been quoted saying that they had underestimated their competitor’s latest GPU, referring to RV770. While the Radeon HD 4870 graphics accelerator provided direct competition to the 192 shader-laden GeForce GTX 260, the subsequent introduction of a 216 shader variant saw it lose ground, leaving doubling of memory size to carve out the newer SKU, the Radeon HD 4870 1GB. Performance benchmarks of this card from all over the media have been mixed, but show that AMD isn’t giving up this chance for gaining technological supremacy.

In Q4 2008, NVIDIA is expected to release three new graphics cards: GeForce GTX 270 and GeForce GTX 290. The cards are based on NVIDIA’s G200 refresh, the G200b, which incorporates a new manufacturing technology to facilitate higher clock-speeds, stepping up performance. This looks to threaten the market position of AMD’s RV770, since it’s already established that G200 when overclocked to its stable limits, achieves more performance than RV770 pushed to its limits. This leaves AMD with some worries, since it cannot afford to lose the wonderful market-position its cash-cow, the RV770 is currently in, to an NVIDIA product that outperforms it by a significant margin, in its price-domain. The company’s next generation graphics processor would be the RV870, which still has some time left before it could be rushed in, since its introduction is tied to the constraints of foundry companies such as TSMC, and the availability of the required manufacturing process (40nm silicon lithography) by them. While TSMC takes its time working on that, there’s a fair bit of time left, for RV770 to face NVIDIA, which given the circumstances, looks a lost battle. Is AMD going to do something about its flagship GPU? Will AMD make an effort to maintain its competitiveness before the next round of the battle for technological supremacy begins? The answer is tilting in favour of yes.


AMD would be giving the RV770 a refresh, with the introduction of a new graphics processor, which could come out before RV870. This graphics processor is to be codenamed RV790 while the possible new SKU name is kept under the wraps for now. AMD would be looking to maintain the same exact manufacturing process of the RV770 and all its machinery, but it would be making changes to certain parts of the GPU that genuinely facilitate it to run at higher clock-speeds, unleashing the best efficiency level of all its 10 ALU clusters.

Déjà-vu? AMD has already attempted to achieve something similar, with its big plans on the Super-RV770 GPU, where the objective was the same: to achieve higher clock speeds, but the approach wasn’t right. All they did back then, was to put batches of RV770 through binning, pick the best performing parts, and use it on premium SKUs with improved cooling. The attempt evidently wasn’t very successful: no AMD partner was able to sell graphics cards that ran stable out of the box, in clock-speeds they set out to achieve: excess of 950 MHz.

This time around, the objective remains the same: to make the machinery of RV770 operate at very high clock-speeds, to bring out the best performance-efficiency of those 800 stream processors, but the approach would be different: to reengineer parts of the GPU to facilitate higher clock speeds. This aims to bring in a boost to the shader compute power (SCP) of the GPU, and push its performance. What gains are slated to be brought about? Significant and sufficient. Significant, with the increase of reference clock-speeds beyond those of what the current RV770 can reach with overclocking, and sufficient for making it competitive with G200b based products.

With this, AMD looks to keep its momentum as it puts up a great competition with NVIDIA, yielding great products from both camps, at great prices, all in all propelling the fastest growing segment in the PC hardware industry, graphics processors. This is going to be a Merry Xmas [shopping season] for graphics cards buyers.
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92 Comments on AMD to Give RV770 a Refresh, G200b Counterattack Planned

#1
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
zithe said:
YAY! A 4900 SERIES!? Or will it be 4890? XD
HD 4860/4890 suits the best guesswork, though it's not known about the naming as of now.
Posted on Reply
#2
aj28
rizla1 said:
the reason there gpu's are out performed is cause of the 256 bit mem controller . and the nvidia 260 - 448 bit or somthing and 280 gtx has 500 bit i think.

imagine a 4870 WITH A 500 BIT MEMORY INTERFACE it would be crazy fast , + 200 GB/s .
448/512-bit, yes, but that's a pretty major redesign you're talking right there, and wouldn't be real likely until the RV870 generation. Plus with the GDDR5 advantage going for ATi right now, that's not an overly necessary modification to make. Of course by the same token, they have all the more to gain by going to a wider bus... In any case, more than likely we'll just see higher clock speeds, some price drops, and maybe GDDR5 standard on the high-end.

Keep in mind, if this generation has taught us anything it's that a company doesn't need to have the fastest card out there, they just need to maintain the best price to performance ratio on the market. Having the fastest card always helps, but hey, there's always CrossFire =D
Posted on Reply
#3
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
a Minor Improvement, sort of like the R300 Gen, should be a good set of cards and possibly different cooling designs coming down the pipeline
Posted on Reply
#4
theJesus
I'm really excited for the new NV cards :).

I wish AMD/ATI would use their old naming scheme where numbers were in increments of either 100 or 50. Like x1900xt, x1950xt, etc. If they at least keep their current xx50 and xx70 scheme and don't add any other increments, I'll be happy, cuz at least it makes sense to use xx70 due to RV770. idk, just stupid little things that bother me, plus I'm tired :ohwell:

In any case, I look forward to some very competitive pricing this xmas :toast:
Posted on Reply
#5
tkpenalty
Isnt the RV870 going to use high-K instead of SOI?
Posted on Reply
#6
Zerofool
I actually doubt we'll see RV790 this year. Latest news about GT200b talk about yet another delay - to February 09 (the inquirer). So probably RV790 cards will come out then (or whenever NV cards do), they don't want to compete against their own cards now :).

zithe said:
Probably after the GT200b release just to attract some attention away. =P
Yes, most likely.
Posted on Reply
#7
zithe
Zerofool said:
I actually doubt we'll see RV790 this year. Latest news about GT200b talk about yet another delay - to February 09 (the inquirer). So probably RV790 cars will come out then (or whenever NV cards do), they don't want to compete against their own cards :).
Probably after the GT200b release just to attract some attention away. =P
Posted on Reply
#8
lemonadesoda
Dugg.

Hmm, interesting. From X19xx to HD29xx to HD 38xx and 48xx. That naming convention leaves room for a 39xx and 49xx series. Only a 39xx made no sense since ATI was getting deeply pwned by NVIDIA so they had to jump straight to 48xx. Perhaps that's where the whole shader miscount came from? Perhaps on an EARLY ROADMAP there was a 39xx with 480 shaders after all.
Posted on Reply
#9
DarkMatter
lemonadesoda said:
Dugg.

Hmm, interesting. From X19xx to HD29xx to HD 38xx and 48xx. That naming convention leaves room for a 39xx and 49xx series. Only a 39xx made no sense since ATI was getting deeply pwned by NVIDIA so they had to jump straight to 48xx. Perhaps that's where the whole shader miscount came from? Perhaps on an EARLY ROADMAP there was a 39xx with 480 shaders after all.
Nope I don't think so. I saw many partners advertising the HD4xxx cards in their sites with 480 SPs until the launch day, one day earlier in fact. After that they corrected it the launch day. IMO there's no way they could get confused in that manner and only knew the true number the launch day. It was simply a distraction move by Ati.
Posted on Reply
#10
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Something close to that happened with the Radeon HD 4830. At first it was 480 SP / 192bit mem, then 480 SP / 256bit mem, finally 640 SP / 256bit.

Zerofool said:
I actually doubt we'll see RV790 this year. Latest news about GT200b talk about yet another delay - to February 09 (the inquirer). So probably RV790 cards will come out then (or whenever NV cards do), they don't want to compete against their own cards now :).
Whenever that does come out, this does. It's just that AMD doesn't want to be thrown way back by a GTX 270/290 and the subsequent GX2. So it could respond with RV790, RV790 X2, sideport enabled X2 boards (though gains (of sideport for X2) are predicted to be insignificant ATM).
Posted on Reply
#11
3dchipset
3DChipset
Is their any word from IHV's about this? From what I've seen in the past from NVIDIA and ATI that we will not see any new cards for the rest of the year. With how the economy is, I can't really see NVIDIA and ATI rush a card out with minor improvements. Especially from ATI. ATI hasn't really made any noise on the 4850X2 at all.

ATI has to concentrate more on "wattage concerns" more then trying to add a couple of more frames to the mix. They already own the "single card" crown.

NVIDIA is in a state of flux. The conference call with NVIDIA did share some light on an actual revision of the GT200. But we have to understand that their Quarterly's are different then the calendar quarters. I will bet anything that we won't see any new cards until February of next year.

Unless IHV's are saying something otherwise, I don't believe any new card this year. Just look at the track records of both companies. ;)
Posted on Reply
#12
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
lemonadesoda said:
Dugg.

Hmm, interesting. From X19xx to HD29xx to HD 38xx and 48xx. That naming convention leaves room for a 39xx and 49xx series. Only a 39xx made no sense since ATI was getting deeply pwned by NVIDIA so they had to jump straight to 48xx. Perhaps that's where the whole shader miscount came from? Perhaps on an EARLY ROADMAP there was a 39xx with 480 shaders after all.
That naming Convention leaves more Room say, 4850, 4855, 4857 etc.
Posted on Reply
#13
Swansen
really???

does any of this bother anyone other than me ?? What is up lately with AMD (ATI) and Nvidia coming out with a new card every month, just to gain tiny amounts of performance?? What happened to generations ??
Posted on Reply
#14
ShadowFold
theJesus said:
I'm really excited for the new NV cards :).

I wish AMD/ATI would use their old naming scheme where numbers were in increments of either 100 or 50. Like x1900xt, x1950xt, etc. If they at least keep their current xx50 and xx70 scheme and don't add any other increments, I'll be happy, cuz at least it makes sense to use xx70 due to RV770. idk, just stupid little things that bother me, plus I'm tired :ohwell:

In any case, I look forward to some very competitive pricing this xmas :toast:
Yea I wish they would have kept it too. HD 3800's could become X2950XT and X2950PRO and HD 4800's X3950XT and X3950PRO.. Those look alot cooler than HD 3870/HD 4850 to me tbh..
Posted on Reply
#15
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
Swansen said:
does any of this bother anyone other than me ?? What is up lately with AMD (ATI) and Nvidia coming out with a new card every month, just to gain tiny amounts of performance?? What happened to generations ??
they have been doing this since the Radeon X series and the GF6 series
Posted on Reply
#16
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
That is because the 4850X2 is a special card from Sapphire, only sapphire researched the design ideas.
3dchipset said:
Is their any word from IHV's about this? From what I've seen in the past from NVIDIA and ATI that we will not see any new cards for the rest of the year. With how the economy is, I can't really see NVIDIA and ATI rush a card out with minor improvements. Especially from ATI. ATI hasn't really made any noise on the 4850X2 at all.

ATI has to concentrate more on "wattage concerns" more then trying to add a couple of more frames to the mix. They already own the "single card" crown.

NVIDIA is in a state of flux. The conference call with NVIDIA did share some light on an actual revision of the GT200. But we have to understand that their Quarterly's are different then the calendar quarters. I will bet anything that we won't see any new cards until February of next year.

Unless IHV's are saying something otherwise, I don't believe any new card this year. Just look at the track records of both companies. ;)
Posted on Reply
#17
FudFighter
ShadowFold said:
Yea I wish they would have kept it too. HD 3800's could become X2950XT and X2950PRO and HD 4800's X3950XT and X3950PRO.. Those look alot cooler than HD 3870/HD 4850 to me tbh..
they wanted to devorce the 3800 from the 2900 because the 2900 had such a bad rep due to heat and power consumption, basickly it made sence for them to go up a model in this case, it wasnt just a die shrink, they also improoved the avivo support as well as some other componants.

we shal see how this situation flushes out, i can see a refresh for christmas honestly, just to hopefully catch some quick $ that or some kinda minor price drops again, to get higher sales on the cards for christmas.

my 8800gts 512 is plenty for now, probbly get something 4870 or better eventuly.
Posted on Reply
#18
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
3dchipset said:
Is their any word from IHV's about this? From what I've seen in the past from NVIDIA and ATI that we will not see any new cards for the rest of the year. With how the economy is, I can't really see NVIDIA and ATI rush a card out with minor improvements. Especially from ATI. ATI hasn't really made any noise on the 4850X2 at all.
Yes. And yes, RV790 is slated to follow GT206/G200b release, though it was intended to stay under the wraps. AMD has been very secretive lately.

3dchipset said:
ATI has to concentrate more on "wattage concerns" more then trying to add a couple of more frames to the mix. They already own the "single card" crown.
The kind of changes AMD is planning will make sure the GPU runs at high clock speeds while not maintaining the same thermal envelope as what a RV770 would hypothetically have at those speeds.

3dchipset said:
NVIDIA is in a state of flux. The conference call with NVIDIA did share some light on an actual revision of the GT200. But we have to understand that their Quarterly's are different then the calendar quarters. I will bet anything that we won't see any new cards until February of next year.
NV knows it won't be able to have a greater impact on the market than it's having now, during the crucial Xmas shopping season, and the stakes are extremely high. There is an indication of GT206 launch within this year, as GT206 has already had its share of delays due to shader domain problems.
Posted on Reply
#19
3dchipset
3DChipset
I'm just curious if they will bring them out this year. So far this is looking like the worse retail shopping in 10 years due to the economy. I honestly would be shocked to see a new offering this year.

If vendors like BFG, XFX, and the likes are the ones talking about it then it could be plausable, but they should start buying up the packages soon (GPU/PCB/MEMORY) If they want to get their cards out on the market for the X-mas season. It takes at least 2 to 3 weeks for design, logo, retail box design, etc... So if they don't have the cards by Thanksgiving, I'm calling a "Nope, not this year" comment. :-)
Posted on Reply
#20
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
That's right, we've to wait and see.
Posted on Reply
#21
Hayder_Master
thanx for this btarunr rally very interesting news and the first time i read about , that's good from ati look like reaction from amd on new nvidia gtx270 and gtx290 , im want take an ati card so im think wait for new one , i hope it come with 512bit to make gddr5 really useful
Posted on Reply
#22
Wile E
Power User
FudFighter said:
they wanted to devorce the 3800 from the 2900 because the 2900 had such a bad rep due to heat and power consumption, basickly it made sence for them to go up a model in this case, it wasnt just a die shrink, they also improoved the avivo support as well as some other componants.
Not so much Avivo improvement, but the inclusion of an actual UVD, which 2900 doesn't have.

Also, don't forget about the 2900's poor AA performance.
Posted on Reply
#23
W1zzard
erocker said:
I'm hoping for adjustable shader clocks. I digg the article bta!:toast:
i doubt ati will have adjustable shader clocks any time soon. this would be a HUGE design change.

imperialreign said:
I wonder how well the new BIOS for these GPUs would work with current R770s :p
i expect rv790 to be drop in compatible with rv770. that means you could unsolder the gpu from a hd 4850/4870, solder on rv790 and the card would work without any other change on hardware or software side.
Posted on Reply
#24
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
hayder.master said:
thanx for this btarunr rally very interesting news and the first time i read about , that's good from ati look like reaction from amd on new nvidia gtx270 and gtx290 , im want take an ati card so im think wait for new one , i hope it come with 512bit to make gddr5 really useful
i expect the 5000 line will possibly have that, or even a odd bit bus, possibly even adj sp.
Posted on Reply
#25
FudFighter
Wile E said:
Not so much Avivo improvement, but the inclusion of an actual UVD, which 2900 doesn't have.

Also, don't forget about the 2900's poor AA performance.
duno m8, i have seen some reviews that showed the performance of 3800 cards being quite notably better using apps that can use avivo such as powerdvd,windvd and the like where avivo can take load off the cpu running the video prosessing almost fully on the gpu.

I am still waiting for some mainstream apps/codecs to use nvidia and ati gpu's.
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