With CrossFire having been launched from Computex just recently. along with their R520 cored GPUs (supposedly) imminent for release, one would think ATI are feeling pretty good about themselves at the moment. However, the folks at Penstarsys have sourced information pointing out that this isn't exactly the case due to some technical setbacks in the production of R520. The well-constructed editorial seems quite profound and raises a few very interesting questions about ATI's near-future positioning in the market.
I have received some rather interesting information about some of the issues facing ATI at this time. Several months ago it was suggested that ATI would be unveiling the R520 chip in April, then that time was pushed back to May, then it was rumored that it would be released during Computex. Now, all of those times have passed, and so far no next generation product from ATI. Several pieces of information have dropped into my hands, and I thought that I would share them here.
The R520 was supposedly taped out around 7 to 8 months ago (I haven't been able to pin down an exact time). Now, it usually takes a good three months before production quality silicon can be received back from the Fab (this includes time to get first silicon, make possible metal layer changes, respin the design, etc.). Once production quality is achieved, then the initial orders for the production parts are sent and it takes generally around three more months to get these initial orders back from the Fab and packaged and sent off to the board partners. So, it typically takes around six months between the initial tapeout to when we can expect solid quantities of products to be hitting the shelves. So far that of course has not happened.
Continuing on, Penstar also share their views on CrossFire and the (slim?) chances it has of being successful against NVIDIA's mighty SLI tech.
While the technology looks fine (though a bit more cobbled together as compared to NVIDIA's SLI), I am a bit leery of the claims that ATI is making about their product. It is well known that many older titles do not work as well on NVIDIA's SLI, and the current driver from NVIDIA only enables automatic SLI profiles for around 70 applications. ATI is claiming that they won't have that problem, and that nearly every game out there can take advantage of MVP. That is a rather bold claim for them to make, especially considering the issues that NVIDIA has run up against with compatibility. Still, it would be impressive to see if ATI in fact can offer that kind of support.
Not long after reading through the above (and finding myself a little depressed by it all), I discovered a more promising piece of information from The Inquirer in regards to ATI's R520, saying they've just acquired some 3DMark05 benchmarking figures claiming a singular R520 is capable of breaking the 10K barrier, which if true, would make it a superior performing solution to dual 6800 Ultras in SLI. Now I cant help but wonder how two R520s would perform together in CrossFire harmony, this really does raise an eye-brow. And with respect to PenStar's editorial, all of this has one pondering as to whats on the horizon for ATI afterall.
DESPITE WHAT people were claiming, the G70 will score better than the 7800. The card never got the 7800 suffix based on its 3Dmark05 score and if it was number would end up significantly bigger. It's actually going to be quite better but still not as good as the "Fudo" R520.
We got some numbers from this card and it turns out that R520 scores more than 10000 in 3Dmark05. We still don't know its clock speeds but we know the score. For what we know Nvidia can not mach this with G70.
This is actually even better or equal to two 6800 Ultra cards in SLI which kinds of makes it looks ridiculously fast. Imagine R520 in Crossfire, what ATI "cool chap" described as "Coolest technology ever" could do? Just double the number please.