The last really big Radeon launch event was back in October 2005 – back in the days when Radeons were still ATI products rather than AMD ones. The X1000 launch was hosted in Ibiza during the closing weekend, and it was one of the better Press events of its era! This time around, AMD chose a North African location to show off the latest graphics products, shipping technology journalists from all over the world to the city of Tunis in Tunisia.
Unfortunately we were a bit too far away from Tatooine to visit the most wretched hive of scum and villainy for a quick drink, but I did manage to nip over to Carthage to see the ruins before having to sit through two solid days of PowerPoint presentations!
A trip to Carthage injected some history and culture into the Radeon HD 2000 launch event.
Like the X1000 launch before it, the HD 2000 launch involved a whole range of products from entry level up to the high end. In fact AMD announced no less than ten new graphics solutions for both desktop and mobile platforms.
Considering that nVidia stole the march on AMD last year with the release of its GeForce 8 series of DirectX 10 GPUs, the Radeon HD 2000 series has a lot resting on its shoulders – although nVidia’s inability to initially produce stable Vista drivers has definitely helped AMD’s cause!
As you’ve probably noticed already, AMD has dropped the traditional X prefix from the latest generation of Radeon cards, replacing it with HD. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the HD stands for High Definition, and since high definition is probably the most popular buzz phrase of the moment, it’s not a bad transition. Of course the HD branding also relates to AMD’s already established and well received Avivo video processing engine, but I’ll cover that in more detail a bit later.
Despite the fact that AMD announced the full complement of ten products under the HD 2000 moniker, only the top end Radeon HD 2900 XT card was actually handed out to the Press for testing and evaluation, so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on with this feature.