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Global Tech News – AMD Radeon HD 3800 Launch Almost Upon Us

An AMD presentation for its upcoming RV670 graphics processor, officially dubbed the Radeon HD 3800, was leaked out to media earlier this week. The slides confirm previous expectations regarding the next generation video card’s technical features, such as DirectX 10.1 support, which Global Tech News detailed last month.

These slides, confirmed by Global Tech News for authenticity, tout DirectX 10.1 support. Before the end of the month, AMD will officially launch its ATI Radeon HD 3800 series. The launch will consist of two new video cards, the HD 3870 and HD 3850. The HD 3870 will be AMD’s new enthusiast part, and is expected to launch at a retail price of $250, while the HD 3850 will for considerably less. DirectX 10.1, which is scheduled to ship with Windows Vista Service Pack 1, will be supported by both of these new cards.

The RV670 graphics core will be the industry’s first 55nm GPU. It will feature more than 650 million transistors on 192 sq. mm package. By comparison, the ATI Radeon HD 2900 (R600) is manufactured on a 80nm processing node and has 700M transistors in 408 sq. mm. AMD claims that the change to a smaller processing node results in less power leakage and leads to the HD 3870 having less than half the power draw of the HD 2900 XT.

AMD will also introduce PowerPlay technology in its new processors. The HD 3800 series will feature an embedded power state controller that monitors the command buffer to assess GPU utilization levels. Through PowerPlay, engine and memory clocks along with voltage levels can all be dynamically adjusted automatically by the system.
AMD will also introduce ATI OverDrive technology with the HD 3800 line of cards. This will allow users to overclock their HD 3800 video cards through ATI Catalyst software. Users will also be allowed to overclock mutli-GPU setups.

ATI CrossfireX, previously dubbed Quad Crossfire, will also finally make its debut. In short, users will be able to connect up to four HD 3800 cards through AMD’s Crossfire. The technology will support up to 8 monitors, and will also allow overclocking.

According to AMD guidance, the ATI Radeon HD 3870 will feature 512MB of 1.2 GHz GDDR4 memory on a 256-bit bus. The form factor of the HD 3870 will be dual slot. Despite its process node shrink, the card will still require a 6-pin PCIe connector. AMD measures peak board power at 105 Watts, and operating noise at 34 dBA.

The Radeon HD 3850, which will be a scaled back version of the RV670, will feature 256MB of 900MHz GDDR3 memory. Similar to the HD 3870, the HD 3850 will also feature a 256-bit memory bus. In addition, it will also require a 6-pin PCIe power connector, however, this time it will be based on a single slot form factor.

The Radeon HD 3870 and Radeon HD 3850 will both come with 320 stream processors, 16 texture units, and 16 render back-ends. The main difference between the two cards, though, will be their clock speeds.

The Radeon HD 3870 will come clocked at 775 MHz, while the Radeon HD 3850 will be clocked at lower 670MHz.

Diamond Multimedia previously leaked a GDDR4 version of the Radeon HD 3870, however, the company immediately retracted the leak from its website.

AMD partners tell Global Tech News both cards will appear in the retail channel before the end of the month.

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