AMD’s HD 2000 Product Lineup
The R600 Products
Okay, we’ve been talking for a LONG time about all the technology that makes up the new AMD ATI Radeon HD 2000 series of GPUs, but what about the actual product? What are you going to be able to buy and play and use? AMD launch today is actually for an entire line of desktop and mobile parts, though we’ll be covering just the desktop cards today and only benchmarking the flagship HD 2900.
The first table here breaks down the HD 2400, HD 2600 and HD 2900 by some of their specifications. Key features to point out are that the HD 2900 flagship has 320 stream processors and a 740 MHz core clock. The lack of a specific shader clock should indicate that they are running in-sync with the main clock speed at 740 MHz or so.
The other killer spec here is the board power — the 2900 is rated at 215 watts while the HD 2400 is at 25 watts and the 2600 is at 45 watts. That is QUITE a jump from the mid-range to high-end graphics parts: a result of different process technology on them. The HD 2900 is built on the 80nm TSMC technology while the HD 2600 and 2400 run on the 65nm technology. Obviously the power benefits of the 65nm move are tremendous but AMD wasn’t able to get the SPUs to run at a high enough speed to get a high end part on 65nm quite yet. 215 watts is a LOT of power and we’ll see how it compares to NVIDIA’s parts towards the end of the review.
This second feature table shows us that the HD 2900 will only sport 512MB of GDDR3 memory, despite rumors that it might have a full gigabyte of GDDR4 — it just turned out to be too expensive for AMD to integrate. Also note that the memory bus is 512-bits on the HD 2900 while on the 2600 it drops all the way to 128-bits and the memory bandwidth change is HUGE. The transistor count on the HD 2900 is 700 million making this a slightly smaller chip than the G80 though it is built on the 80nm process as well giving it another advantage there. Side note: even though HDCP is only mentioned on the HD 2900, it is supported across the entire line.
ATI Radeon HD 2400
There will be two HD 2400 cards: a Pro and XT model and will be in the entry level segment. It will still support Avivo HD technology, HDMI output coupled with the integrated audio controller.
ATI Radeon HD 2600
The HD 2600 will also come in two flavors: Pro and XT. But it adds support for 1080p HD processing and native CrossFire support as well.
ATI Radeon HD 2900
There is only one scheduled HD 2900 card, the HD 2900 XT. At the top of the AMD stack it gets the flagship moniker and sports the most performance features as well as the dual-slot cooler.
This slide is very exciting! And not just because I’m a smart ass, but the prices that AMD has laid out for their new Radeon HD series is pretty impressive at first glance. First, the HD 2400 and HD 2600 are looking to get great mid-range graphics cards, though I can’t say that with any conviction as I didn’t get any to test — they don’t exist quite yet. The HD 2900 XT however WILL be available very soon and with a price tag of only $399 sets its sights on just about every serious gamer, not just those with too much extra cash.
Oh, and did you see there that Valve and AMD will be bringing you a copy of HL2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal for buying the new HD 2900 XT? As long as we don’t have to wait as long as we did to get it like we did the first bundle with Half-Life 2, this is a GREAT bonus for AMD’s customers.
Finally, here is the all important date slide: when can you buy these again? First up is the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT that is supposed to be available today and make this a hard launch. However, since I haven’t been seeing leaks on forums yet, I’d be willing to bet it will be a few days still before they are in stock.
The rest of the lineup is on hiatus though and won’t be showing up for sale until late June and you won’t be able to see our tests of them until about the same time. But like I said, I don’t even have them. So there you have it, an ENTIRE LINEUP announced today, but only one card with planned availability this month.