Feeds

AMD and Nvidia extreme GPUs workout

Visual feast

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Extreme PC Week

Extreme PC Week

At the very extreme end of desktop graphics are the dual GPU, frame crunching, power hungry monsters that you won’t give you much change from a grand. The extreme offerings can be a little difficult to find too, as most card vendors only produce a limited range. Instead, they prefer to concentrate on the next rung on the ladder down, the high-end cards, before turning to the real bread and butter part of the market; the entry-level cards.

Yet the extreme end of innovation is the ground where the two giants of the dedicated graphics architecture design, AMD and Nvidia, slug it out. In the most recent bout of high-end graphics technology launches, AMD turned up with its Southern Islands architecture in December 2011 and Nvidia was nowhere to be seen. In fact it was only in March 2012 that Nvidia could respond to AMD’s baiting with cards built around the new Kepler architecture, that we'll come to shortly.

AMD Southern Islands


AMD’s Southern Islands architecture takes care of all its 7000 series cards and is the first to implement the company’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) technology. The single GPU flagship of the range uses the Tahiti core better known to you and me under its marketing moniker of the Radeon HD 7970.

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Tahiti block diagram

AMD Radeon HD 7970 Tahiti block diagram

Built on a 28nm process, the world’s first GPU to do so, it has no less than 4.3 billion transistors squeezed on a die that is some 365mm². Now 4.3 billon transistors sounds OK if you say it quickly enough but let’s try to put this into some kind of perspective. Take Intel’s current top of the range Ivy Bridge processor, the Core i7-3770K, has just 1.4 billion on a 160mm² die. Yup, this AMD chip is a monster. It also lays claim to another couple of firsts: the first graphics core to support DirectX 11.1 and the first to support PCI-E 3.0.

Clock speeds for the HD 7970 are 925MHz for the core with 2048 Stream Processors running at the same rate. The huge 3GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 1,375MHz or an effective memory speed of 5.5GHz. The graphics RAM utilises a 384-bit memory bus, giving the HD 7970 something in the region of 264GB/sec of bandwidth.

AMD’s multi-monitor technology gets a boost in the Tahiti core – Eyefinity Version 2.0 supports monitors of different sizes and resolutions, allowing custom resolutions to be created too.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Nvidia Kepler

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.