Feeds
85%

AMD Radeon HD 4850 and 4870

Snatching the price:performance crown from Nvidia?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Review The new AMD 'RV770' graphics chip that lies at the heart of Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 owes a great deal to the 'RV670' that we saw in HD 3850 and 3870. It uses the same 55nm fabrication process and continues to support DirectX 10.1, but the transistor count has risen from 666m to 956m.

That’s a 44 per cent increase in the number of transistors so it’s impressive that the die area has only increased by 37 per cent from 190 to 260 square millimetres.

By the sound of it, AMD has taken baby steps with its new chip but one part of the specification leaps off the page: the number of Stream Processors - aka unified shaders - has jumped from 320 to 800.

AMD RV770

AMD's RV770: die hard

These numbers puzzled is so we fired off an e-mail to AMD thus:

"How the heck has the shader count climbed from 320 in RV670 to 800 in RV770 on the same 55nm process? Do the old and the new shaders use the same number of transistors?"

We got this response from Richard Huddy, AMD's head of developer relations for graphics chips: "Yes, the RV770 is only about 40 per cent larger than RV670, but the transistors are used on average about 50 per cent more efficiently too – and when you combine both of those factors together you get a much more impressive design.

"Traditionally we’ve focused only on saving Silicon area by moving to smaller processes, this time we made a very deliberate decision to get our performance per dollar much higher.’

It sounds like AMD has adopted the Intel Tick-Tock approach. RV670 - Tick - was a major step forward from the 80nm Radeon HD 2900, and RV770 - Tock - has refined the design to deliver higher performance and better value.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.