ASUS Extreme Radeon X1800 XT TOP/2DHTV

@ 2006/01/09
Ironically enough, the tale of the R520 GPU used in ATI’s Radeon X1800 shares many similarities with NVIDIA’s ill-fated NV30 GPU, which was found in their GeForce FX 5800 line.

Both GPUs were based on entirely new architectures. In the case of NV30, NVIDIA was ushering in the era of DX9 graphics, while R520 was ATI’s first graphics part to utilize shader model 3.0. It could also be said that engineers at both firms were shooting for the same basic design philosophy, choosing higher clock speeds rather than integrating more shading units into their respective designs. In the case of NV30, NVIDIA was shooting for the lofty clock speed of 500MHz (most GPUs at the time were stuck around 300MHz), while NV30 was built around a 4-pixel pipeline architecture.

When ATI was developing R520, they envisioned a core clock speed of 700MHz or more, this figure is considerably faster than any high-end graphics product produced to date, while the chip was based on a 16-pixel pipeline architecture. Like NVIDIA, ATI sacrificed shaders in order to hit blazing clock speeds.

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