Feeds

ATI multi-card rendering details emerge

Turns to tiles - but where's the grouting?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

ATI's SLi-style multi-card image rendering system will be able to use any of the company's 3D graphics cards, if claims made by hardware website Hexus.net are anything to go by.

ATI's system - apparently dubbed Multi Video Processing (MVP) - will, like Nvidia's rival SLi technique, speed image rendering by getting two GPUs to co-operatively render each 3D scene.

Citing a number of sources, the site claims ATI's approach uses a master/slave system. The slave card can be any ATI board - only the master card needs to specifically support MVP. Nvidia's alternative requires two SLi-compatible boards to be used.

MVP was previously believed to operate across the PCI Express bus, avoiding the need for the proprietary card-to-card connector used by Nvidia's SLi boards. However, the sources claim ATI's system actually connects the two boards via a backplane connection - presumably feeding the slave card's video output into the master card's video-in part. ATI's solution will also require a suitable mobo.

One particularly interesting aspect of Hexus' revelation is ATI's use of a tile-based rendering scheme. Instead of doing the whole scene as one, the image is partitioned into squares, the better to minimise the bandwidth needed to bat a rendered tile from one card to the other.

It's an interesting trick that goes back to the early 1990s when Imagination Technologies was developing its PowerVR line of graphics chips. PowerVR technology was used in Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast, which used a tile-based rendering scheme, as did other PowerVR-based products such as the Kyro range of graphics cards.

Tile-based rendering was also championed by start-up Gigapixel, which was later acquired by 3dfx, which was later acquired by Nvidia... ®

Related stories

Nvidia agrees to buy ailing 3dfx for $112m
3dfx pulls plug on graphics card production
3dfx to grab Gigapixel for $186m
GigaPixel takes on 3dfx, S3, Nvidia with tiles

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.