ATI's R600 is a DirectX9 performer

Written by Brett Thomas

June 29, 2006 // 4:41 p.m.

Tags: #10 #7950 #9 #directx #dx10 #dx9 #g80 #geforce #gx2 #r600

Companies: #ati

It seems that ATI is going about designing its next-generation R600 in an interesting way. Rather than trying to step into DirectX 10 with all guns blazing, the new chip will actually be a parting blow to take the DirectX 9.0 performance title once and for all.

Thanks to the unified architecture that ATI has been creating, its (supposedly) massively high clock-speed chip will not care much whether it is processing DirectX 9.0 or DirectX 10 code. This means that by focusing on making the fastest DirectX 9.0 chip available, it will naturally be a good DirectX 10 performer too.

Ultimately, this makes sense, because all of the games on the market today are DirectX 9.0 based. Making a chip that doesn't perform well in these titles will ultimately hurt sales, despite the advanced feature set.

On top of it all, it seems that ATI is ditching the noisy cooling solution, which was probably the worst part of the entire Radeon X1800 and Radeon X1900-series cards. There are no specifics on this aside from "We're working on a new one," but one has to figure it will be more efficient than the previous models (perhaps more of a heatpipe design).

The current cooling design will not be able to satisfy the cooling requirements of R600, which is rumoured to be bigger and hotter than any of the company's previous high-end parts. The new cooler simply has to be a bit quieter, while being able to cope with the heat loads created by R600. We hope that a jet turbine is out of the question in this instance, as that's about the only thing noisier than an X1900-series cooler running at full whack.

Of course, one can't assume that NVIDIA is just resting on its laurels. The company has been so tight-lipped about its upcoming G80 graphic chip that everything reported so far can be considered nothing but speculation. It has instead wanted its board partners to focus on GeForce 7950 GX2, which can be delivered now as opposed to a chip that is still months off.

So that's the scoop on the upcoming field of battle that is DirectX 10. Got a thought? Drop it in our forums. Ah, I love the smell of silicon in the morning...
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