PCI Express

In addition to the MRX600, ATi also confirmed its plans for a complete top-to-bottom range of PCI Express graphics cards with the announcement of the Radeon X800, RadeonX600 and Radeon X300.

The X800 is based on the R423 VPU, which is essentially nothing more than the existing R420 VPU but with a native PCI Express interface. You can find our look at the R420 based Radeon X800 here.

As you’d expect, ATi is making a big deal out of the fact that it utilises a native, un-bridged PCI Express interface across the entire product range, as opposed to nVidia that currently uses a PCIE-AGP bridge chip. Just how much of an edge this gives ATi, if any, remains to be seen but on paper at least a native solution should offer higher speeds and reduced latency.

Also announced was the X600 desktop part. Two versions were announced with the only differences being in the core and memory clock speeds. Both VPUs offer full precision DirectX 9.x shader support along with four pixel and two vertex pipelines. Maximum memory capacity for both parts is 256MB.

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Finally we have the X300, which will prop up the entire line-up. This time we see both cards sharing the same 325MHz core and 400MHz memory speeds but the X300SE has a cut down 64bit memory interface. Like the X600, the X300 will also feature four pixel and two vertex pipelines and full DirectX 9.x shader support. X300 SE will be available both actively and also passively cooled and in full and half-height card formats.

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The X300 is the first ATi VPU built using an advanced 0.11 micron process and though some people speculated that 0.11micron would first make an appearance on a high-end VPU, it makes perfect sense that the reduced power requirements and reduced heat production be put to use on the X300, plus it gives the process time to mature and prove itself before being used on the more demanding cores.

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With the first PCI Express mobile VPU on the market and a complete range of PCI Express desktop parts, ATi has clearly signalled its commitment to this new graphics interface, while AXIOM is a clear move to woo partners into choosing the ease, simplicity and flexibility of an ATi built VPU. We look forward to testing these claims for ourselves.

 
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