Computex Taipei 2006 - Part 5


ATI Technologies

ATI X1K Physics and More

The star of the show, ATI unveiled their GPU physics engine. ATI's flexible physics processing really means that users can use a single GPU for both graphics and physics, dual GPUs for each, CrossFire physics and even a 2+1 configuration comprising of a CrossFire plus an additional x1000 series graphics card for physics processing. Because of this, users need not invest in too expensive a configuration as even the X1300 has more than enough raw power.

At the moment, ATI has only demoed rigid body collision and particle physics and will soon develop other physics processing as well like fluid dynamics. Running purely off CPU processing on the latest Core 2 Duo would average 10 frames or less, but with GPU physics turned on, we were looking at over 100fps peak. Of course, ATI's GPU physics is also tied in with the Havok API.

The other interesting launch at ATI was their new Theater 650 Pro video processor. At its heart is its 12-bit video decoder and hardware AVIVO processing for video and audio encoding. It also supports all three NTSC, PAL and SECAM TV standards as well as ATSC and DVB-T for digital TV.

Next generation RS600 is still at the hush hush stage, but available information is that it should have an x700 class video processor with HDCP and HDMI interface built-in. The demo here shows HD video decoding as well as 3D gaming at the same time. Note that the RS600 is the Intel version with a sister RS690 for the AMD platform. The RS600/RS690 is scheduled to be released with a Vista launch tie in.

The RD600 however is set to compete with NVIDIA's nForce 590 SLI. It actually shares many of the nForce 590 SLI features such as independent bus clocks and auto PCIe overclocking (ala NVIDIA LinkBoost). Of course you can bet that the RD600 will be supporting three PCIe x16 configurations for GPU physics and maybe even DDR3.

The Radeon Xpress 1100 sports the same RS485 specifications, but built for the AMD Turion 64 X2's S1 socket. Most Turion 64 X2 notebooks you see on the street today such as those from MSI and BenQ will already be featuring this chipset. There is also a higher end 1150 version, which sports a higher clocked graphics core.

The ATI Yokohama initiative is a highly integrated design co-optimized by ATI and AMD using the Radeon Xpress 1100 series chipset and Turion 64 X2 processors to build notebooks with above 4 hours battery life. ATI is claiming more than 5 hours using their next generation chipset as well.