Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD’s Radeon 4800 series launches a bit later than originally expected, but AMD promises a huge jump in performance, especially in number crunching horsepower : The Radeon 4870 delivers 1.2 TFlops, which would be at least 20% above the rating of Nvidia’s GT200 series.
This time, AMD needs a winner. The company has been trailing its green rival for quite some time, gave up market share, customers, credibility and - most of all - lots of cash. If early reviews are any indication, the new Radeon 4800 should put the former ATI back on the map with products that may not quite reach the gaming performance of Nvidia in all benchmarks, but offer a convincing speed at mainstream price points. ATI Radeon HD 4850 cards are selling for about $200 and 4870 versions for $300. AMD itself claims that "the ATI Radeon 4800 series represents a 2X performance jump over the HD 3800 GPU," which would be "the biggest generational increase since the game-changing launch of the Radeon 9700 in 2002."
$200 will buy 800 stream processors, a "stock" GPU core clock speed of 625 MHz, 512 MB of GDDR3 memory rated at 2 Gb/s, and comes in a single-slot PCI Express 2.0 configuration with a maximum board power of 110 watts. Expect overclocked boards with about 675 MHz to be introduced by varies vendors in the near future. The upgrade to a 4870 version will deliver a stock GPU core clock speed of 750 MHz, 512 MB of GDDR5 memory rated at 3.6 Gb/s, and comes in a dual-slot PCI Express 2.0 configuration with a maximum board power of 160 watts. AMD claims that, compared to the 3800 series, twice the speed is achieved with an increase of 20% in power.
Especially impressive is, if correct, AMD’s claim of a maximum performance of 1.2 TFlops. Four GPUs and 3200 stream processors in CrossfireX configuration could yield close to 5 TFlops, taking an enthusiast PC into supercomputer territory. It will be interesting to watch the impact of such systems in applications such as Folding@Home as well as desktop GPGPU applications that can take advantage of this hidden potential in graphics cards.
Both the 4850 and 4870 are available now, AMD said. According to the company one dozen add-in-board companies will be offering custom designs of the products. "High-performance" versions of the 4800 series will be offered by are VisionTek, Asus, PowerColor, MSI, Gigabyte, GeCube, Force3D, Sapphire, Diamond, Club 3D, HIS and Palit.
Systems integrators launching ATI Radeon HD 4800 series include ABS, Alienware, AMAX, Canada Computers, CyberPower, Extreme PC, Falcon-Northwest, iBuyPower, Maingear, Systemax, Ultra Gaming and Velocity Micro.