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ATI to fit digital TV chip into GPU for Blu-ray/HD DVD

RV550 to introduce 'universal video decoder'

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ATI's upcoming RV550 GPU will integrate the company's Xilleon digital TV image processing chip to bring once high-end 1080p HD output to its mainstream graphics cards, it has emerged.

According to presentation slides leaked by Chinese-language site HKEPC, ATI is calling the Xilleon-sourced video engine its Universal Video Decoder (UVD). The circuitry supports twin processing streams to render a main image and, when activated, picture-in-picture. The chip will output to the standard set by ATI's Avivo image enhancement system.

The upshot the addition, the slides suggest, are mainstream graphics cards able to display even the most bandwidth-demanding video streams next-generation optical disc formats HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc can provide.

The RV550's GPU core is the RV516, equipped with four pixel processors and four vertex engines. The product integrates the UVD and runs the two single-die components at 600MHz - still within the range of the board's passive cooling system. Up to 512MB of DDR 2 memory is clocked to 800MHz and connected across a 128-bit bus. ATI's slides suggest the RV550 will be offered on two boards, both with a DVI port and one with a video-out connector, the other with an HDMI port. The boards - codenamed 'Clarity' and 'Crystal', respectively - are described as dual DVI and HDCP ready.

The RV550 is due to sample in September, the slides indicate, before going into mass production and shipping in December. ®

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