More Details on ATI's SMARTSHADER Tech
10:34 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
GameSpot and Gamer's Depot have both produced reports on ATI Technologies' contribution to the buzzword battle between graphics card giants, namely the all-caps SMARTSHADER. This technology, which will run on a yet-to-be-announced chipset, is ATIs answer to the pixel and vertex shading technologies that NVIDIA incorporated into the GeForce 3 chipset released last Spring.
Both articles seem to be based on hands-on demos of the SMARTSHADER tech in action, but unfortunately they share the same screen shots. While there isn't much in the way of new information released, if this is your first introduction to the technology either article should suffice. Included are various screen shots of the pixel and vertex shaders in action, accompanied by detailed flowcharts which depict the new pipeline structure.
Tucked away in both articles are sketchy details on ATI's next chipset, code-named R200. Here's an excerpt from the GameSpot article:
ATI indicated that its next-generation Radeon hardware, known internally as the R200, will launch in the late summer. The demos we saw of Smartshader were run on an early sample of the R200, and developers just got their first hands-on time with the hardware at the Meltdown event. Now that we've been introduced to both Truform and Smartshader, it won't be too long before we get a real look at ATI's new card. The R200's Truform and Smartshader features represent a major architectural change from the Radeon. Truform's hardware tessellation stage is quite complex, but pixel shaders are even more so, and this feature will necessarily add a huge number of transistors to the chip.As we aren't too far from August, the time may be drawing near for ATI to launch their answer to the GeForce 3, and considering the history of ATI on the Mac platform (the majority of products still ship with ATI hardware) we're sure a Mac model of the chip/card will be in the works. Read up on both of these articles for more details, but remember -- the weak link in this equation is developer support. All these buzzwords will mean nothing if developers do not go out of their way to include the new card features in future games.
SMARTSHADER First Look at Gamer's Depot
SMARTSHADER First Look at GameSpot
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