GDDR5 for AMD’s next-gen graphics chip is shipping

Written by Tim Smalley

May 21, 2008 // 10:05 a.m.

Tags: #amd #chip #gddr5 #gen #graphics #launch #next #next-generation #r700 #release #rv770 #shipping

Qimonda has announced that it has started shipping GDDR5 memory for AMD’s next-generation graphics processors, meaning that the launch of the “R700” generation of products is imminent.

The memory manufacturer says that it has already started mass producing and shipping GDDR5 512Mbit modules (rated at 4.0Gbps per pin) to AMD.

"We are very proud to supply AMD with GDDR5 volume shipments only six months after first product samples have been delivered," said Robert Feurle, Vice President Business Unit Specialty DRAM of Qimonda, in a statement.

Sources close to AMD have said that RV770 will be the first chip to support GDDR5 memory, but only one of the two RV770-based cards at launch will use the new memory technologies. The second part, which is believed to be called RV770PRO internally, will use GDDR3 memory instead. Both products will likely feature 480 stream processors (in a similar arrangement to the current RV670 chips – i.e. 96 5-way shader units) and a 256-bit memory interface.

Word in Taiwan is that the shader units will run at a higher clock than the rest of the GPU, but none of the clock speeds are finalised yet on either product. We’ll be keeping our ear to the ground in the run up to the launch.

AMD has been quite public on its intentions for the future – it no longer intends to make ‘big’ GPUs in light of the problems it had with both R520 and R600. Instead, it intends to take the fight to Nvidia with multiple GPUs, further expanding on the transparency of the Radeon HD 3870 X2 implementation.

How AMD plans to improve on the 3870 X2’s implementation is unclear at the moment, but everything is pointing towards driver transparency—in other words, the driver will see the multiple GPUs as ‘one’. Whether or not that will happen in this next round of releases is not certain, but that appears to be the ‘holy grail’ having spoken to several sources ‘in the know’.

Are you looking forward to this round of launches? Share your thoughts in the forums.

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