Sunnyvale (CA) - In what could be the worst kept secret in graphics card launch history, AMD has announced their new HD 2000 series of cards. Boasting up to 320 stream processing units and the industry’s first 512-bit memory bus, the cards hope to dislodge Nvidia from graphics supremacy. Several desktop and mobile cards are being announced and AMD says most of them will be made with a new 65 nanometer process.
In all five desktop cards and five mobile chips are being announced. AMD is aiming the 2900 XT card with its 512-bit memory interface at gaming enthusiasts. The large memory bus can, according to AMD, push up to 106 GB of traffic per second. The monster 700 million transistor cards also boast 512 MB of GDDR3 video RAM and a 742 MHz core clock speed which can perform 475 billion “real” floating point operations per second.
Users who don’t need as much power can opt for the 2600 Pro and 2600 XT cards which have 256 MB of video RAM and a 600 to 800 MHz clock speed. These cards also have a much less capable 128-bit memory bus.
“Value” users can purchase either the 2400 Pro or XT cards which have a 525 to 700 MHz clock speed and between either 128 or 256 MB of video RAM. These cards have an even narrower 64-bit memory bus.
On the mobile side, AMD is launching the 2300, 2400, 2400 XT, 2600 and 2600 XT with core clock speeds of 450 to 700 MHz. You can read the specifications in the table below.
Interestingly enough the 2400 and 2600 series of cards are manufactured with a 65 nanometer process while an 80 nm process was used to make the top-end 2900 XT. All the mobile chips are made with a 65 nm process except for the 2300 which is manufactured at 90 nm.
AMD is touting performance per watt as one of the main attractions of the HD 2000 series. At a press event in Tunisia, company representatives claimed the 2900 XT will use peak at over 200 watts, but normal usage would be highly variable in the 140 to 160 watt range. The 2600 Pro and XT cards will use from 45 to 75 watts. The mobile chips will, in some instances, use less than ten watts.
Speaking of power consumption, AMD says a unified video decoder (UVD) will playback high definition video so efficiently that laptops will now be able to play an HD DVD or Blu-Ray movie on a single battery charge. All the desktop models will also have UVD which natively decompress H.264 and MPEG2 video. AMD claims the hardware acceleration can reduce CPU load for HD DVD playback to around 12% and system power draw on laptops should be less than 40 watts.
Of course what good is high definition video if you can’t output it to a high definition screens. With all the desktop models, AMD is including a handy dongle that lets you output your DVI signal to HDMI. The cards also adhere to HDCP and AACS copy protection.
And like in the commercials, “That’s not all”, because the HD 2000 cards will also process high definition audio and output it through the same adapter. Both PCM stereo and AC3 5.1 channel audio can be handled.
AMD has also updated their Crossfire multi-card system. You don’t need anymore dongles or master cards to set up a Crossfire configuration because everything automatically configures. You simply plug two 2600 or 2900 cards into a computer. AMD also promises that Crossfire solutions beyond two cards will be supported in the future.
The 2900 XT card should be currently available for $400 while all the other desktop cards will be shipping on July 1st. The 2600 line will sell for $100 to $200 while the 2400s will sell for $100 and less.
Stream Processors 2400 Pro 65nm 525 MHz
400 MHz 40 2400 XT 65nm 700 MHz 64-bit 800 MHz 40 2600 Pro 65nm 600 MHz 128-bit 400 MHz 120 2600 XT 65nm 800 MHz 128-bit 1100 MHz 120 2900 XT 80nm 742 MHz 512-bit 828 MHz 320
AMD's HD 2000 Desktop Models
2300 90 nm 450 - 480 MHz 64/128-bit 400 - 550 MHz 2400 65 nm 350 - 450 MHz 64-bit 400 - 500 MHz 2400 XT 65 nm 500 - 600 MHz 64-bit 600 - 700 MHz 2600 65 nm 400 - 500 MHz 64/128-bit 550 - 600 MHz 2600 XT 65 nm 600 - 700 MHz 64/128-bit 700 - 750 MHz
AMD's Mobile Models