ATI Technologies Inc. today introduced the RADEON 9700 Visual Processing Unit (VPU). ATI's groundbreaking new chip boasts many industry firsts and revolutionizes the graphics industry with features including eight parallel rendering pipelines, complete Microsoft® DirectX® 9 support, AGP 8X support and a fully programmable floating point architecture, leading the industry into a new era of cinematic-quality real time graphics.
"The RADEON 9700, with its full floating point architecture, represents the most radical change in computer graphics since the industry adoption of textures in 1990," said Dr. Jon Peddie, President of Jon Peddie Research, the leading analyst firm in graphics and multimedia. "The RADEON 9700 has the unique ability to run the equations of physics that accurately represent the visual experience rather than having to approximate them with techniques like multi-texturing. Beginning with the RADEON 9700, cinematic-quality rendering moves from the off-line software emulation environment into the real time world of the visual processor."
"Any company that wants to compete in the high end will have to follow in our footsteps," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President, Marketing and General Manager, Desktop, ATI Technologies Inc. "The RADEON 9700 revolutionizes the visual experience and establishes a foundation for the future. It is the only choice for users craving the ultimate gaming experience this holiday season."
"ATI's RADEON 9700 takes the next step in graphics technology, bringing us one step closer to realizing real time movie quality graphics in games," said Michael Heilemann, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Fox Interactive. "With hardware support for version 2.0 pixel and vertex shaders, it allows us much more freedom to create graphical effects with unparalleled performance."
Winning architecture for unheard-of performance
The RADEON 9700 has a completely revolutionary architecture focusing on performance, precision and programmability. Its eight parallel rendering pipelines provide the brute force to process over 2.5 billion pixels per second. Four parallel geometry engines process greater than 300 million transformed and lit polygons per second. The performance of this new architecture is staggering, doubling the performance of anything on the market today. In addition, HYPER Z III reduces overdraw by detecting and discarding hidden pixels and reduces memory bandwidth consumption by over 50 per cent. The RADEON 9700 incorporates a new high-performance 256-bit DDR memory interface, providing over 20 GB/second of graphics memory bandwidth.
The RADEON 9700 is the first to fully support the AGP 8X specification, allowing increased volumes of texture and vertex data to be transferred quickly. The AGP 8X interface was designed to double the graphics processing bandwidth over today's current AGP 4X and the RADEON 9700 has been selected as the validation platform for many motherboard chipset manufacturers. ATI's commitment to AGP 8X ensures that the RADEON 9700 is at the forefront of the latest advancements in chipset technology.
The RADEON 9700 is the first architecture developed by ATI's west coast development team, which includes the former ArtX team, known for developing the graphics for the NINTENDO GAMECUBE.
Cinematic effects and incredible photo-realism
The RADEON 9700 brings users a movie-quality experience on their computer. With SMARTSHADER 2.0 and floating point precision, the RADEON 9700 is the first graphics architecture to fully support Microsoft's DirectX 9. The implementation supports up to 16 textures per rendering pass with Pixel Shaders 2.0 and vertex programs of up to 1,024 instructions with flow control. This architecture enables users to run complex cinematic-quality shader programs in real time for truly realistic effects.
SMOOTHVISION 2.0 incorporates a new, state-of-the-art, full-scene anti-aliasing implementation for unprecedented performance at even the highest quality anti-aliasing modes. Also included in SMOOTHVISION 2.0 is ATI's popular advanced anisotropic filtering technology, supporting up to 16 bilinear or trilinear samples per pixel at a variety of modes. These technologies substantially improve the visual quality, without degrading performance.
Seamless integration of shaders and video
The RADEON 9700's new VIDEOSHADER technology is the first architecture to use programmable pixel shaders to accelerate video streaming. Programmable pixel shaders can also be used to enhance the quality and scalability of TV and DVD playback. On captured video, VIDEOSHADER can apply real-time noise filtering to produce clean video. Image filtering such as blurring, embossing and outlining can also be applied to video streams in real time.
FULLSTREAM, another innovative technology in the RADEON 9700, uses pixel shaders to remove blocky artifacts from streaming video and provides sharper image quality and greater scalability.
RADEON 9700 supports in hardware both MPEG-2 encode and decode, enabling high-quality accelerated video capture and playback.
Flexible display features
The RADEON 9700 VPU features dual integrated display controllers, dual integrated 400MHz DACs, an integrated TMDS transmitter, and integrated TV-out and HDTV-out support, which enable a variety of display configurations.
Pricing and availability
ATI and its board partners will have RADEON 9700 series products available in August. ATI's retail product will ship with 128 MB DDR memory, DVI-I, VGA and TV-out display connectors with a suggested retail price of USD$399.
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