Radeon 2 Details Revealed
12:46 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
The excellent hardware news and reviews site Tom's Hardware has produced an in-depth report on the R200, the next chipset from ATI Technologies which is widely believed to be the successor to the Radeon series. As we recently reported, ATI has announced both TRUFORM and SMARTSHADER (their caps, not ours!) technologies, bringing feature parity with NVIDIA's GeForce 3 series -- and surpassing those chipsets in many respects. Now the actual hardware that will power both of those new technologies is beginning to be revealed.
Tom's overview of the chipset also includes examples and charts of the improved graphics architecture and pipeline. It even includes accounts and screen shots of a live demo of the R200 in action. Here's a sample:
The tack of the presentation wasn't all that original to begin with. In the past, it was Toy Story graphics in real time. Now, ATI is pushing for Final Fantasy graphics in real time. It's a nice marketing message, but the real story here seems to be that ATI has jumped ahead of Nvidia on the hardware curve by adding its own enhancements to pixel shading in DirectX, and got them incorporated in DirectX 8.1...As you can see the article is a little tech-heavy, but certainly worth reading for anyone anticipating ATI's next release. The R200/Radeon 2 chipset may debut as soon as August.
"ATI's R200 Revealed" at Tom's Hardware
There have been an awful lot of articles on the 3D graphics pipeline. For the sake of hardware enthusiasm we can probably simplify things here. Vertex shaders are the T&L segment, and pixel shaders are the rasterizers. Prior to DirectX 8, T&L and rasterizer functions were fixed in hardware, but in the new model, programmers can have access to an almost unlimited number of visual effects by plugging in their own routines into the pipeline.
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