3D, AMD, Business, Companies, Graphics, Intel

ATI and Nvidia cards for 2009 will be monsters

As the 2008 is drawing to a close, our thoughts are turning towards 2009 and what incredible hardware will come at our doorsteps. Upcoming year will bring a breeze of competitiveness, with AMD and Intel fighting for enthusiasts hearts and minds in the world of CPUs. GPUs will see a tough three-way battle between AMD GPG (ex-ATI), Nvidia and newcomer Intel with its Larrabee cGPU.

hynix_gddr5But one of main building block was launched yesterday, in 2008. Hynix introduced a chip with a friendly and “easily understandable” name: H5GQ1H24AFR. Even though the name looks like something that ENIGMA would encrypt, we’re talking about 128MB (1Gbit) memory chip that operates at the clock of 1.75 GHz in QDR mode, resulting in 7 GigaTransfers per second (7 GT/s or 7 “GHz”). Currently, ATI Radeon 4870 and 4870X2 come with 900 MHz chips that offer 3.6 GT/s, so we’re talking about doubling the memory bandwidth per chip.

This means that a GPU with a 256-bit memory controller would have roughly 219 GB/s of bandwidth, while 512-bit memory controller and these Hynix chips would result almost  A GPU with 256-bit memory controller and 438 GB/s. These numbers are astonishing and quite frankly, will open the doors for higher performance jump than previously imagined.

Best thing of them all: due to new manufacturing process, Hynix 2nd Gen GDDR5 chips at 1.75 GHz works at 1.35V rail, and consumes less power than initial 900 MHz chips (3.6 GT/s ones). Yep, the power consumption will go down, and performance per chip is now doubling. Who says you can’t have “wolves stuffed, and all sheep numbered” as the old Croatian saying go (english version: have your cake and eat it too)?

Now you know. Nvidia’s GT212, or the 40nm shrink of GT200 chips consumes around 25% of power eaten by the original 65nm chip, can have double the bandwidth and GDDR5 memory that eats less power than GDDR3 memory present on GTX280 cards. As far as ATI is concerned, the upcoming RV870 will be in the same boat as Nvidia.

Can you say, 8-pin power connector is going the way of do-do birds? Well, I would say yes, but don’t forget that GPU makers will use these power savings to clock their cards to absolute physical limits.
H1 2009 will see $299 parts that enable 1920×1200 in 16x AA/AF at 120 fps with no sweat.
If you thought that GTX280 and 4870X2 are incredible… well, we haven’t seen anything yet. Now, will the game designers finally follow the path set by Race Driver GRID, Unreal Tournament III, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3 and offer absolutely fantastic gaming experience without constant crying that “hardware isn’t powerful enough”. Or at least, prove that it really isn’t.

P.S. Before you ask.. this is still single-ended GDDR5. Still waiting for that Differential GDDR5 to show up…of course, we need Differential GDDR5-capable memory controllers too.