Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Rage3D
Date: May 11th, 2006
IRC Chat with ATI's Daniel Taranovsky

ATI: Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay. This is Daniel Taranovsky from ATI.

Ratchet: ok, we're starting. Sorry for the delays
Ratchet: hi Daniel

Question: how much/many of the new area/transistors was spent just in the larger register file, how much in the new ALUs and how much in any other kind of improvement (i.e. Hier-z)

Answer: Hi great question. The X1900 is larger than the X1800, and this was largely due to implementing three times the shader processing power (the new ALUs). This was a major factor when evaluating performance of shader intensive games versus the competition. As we all know, games' shaders are becoming longer, more math intensive, and more prevalent in scenes so architecturally the X1900 was designed with these titles in mind.

 

Question: What games are you looking forward to in the next few months to really show off the power of X1900?

Answer: There are a lot of really interesting games that take advantage of the X1900 feature + performance horsepower. Oblivion being a good example of one currently available, GRAW, and other upcoming ones i cant mention.

 

Question: If you could give the X1900 more of any one thing (memory bandwidth, ROPs, TMUs, ALUs, etc.) what would it be, and why?

Answer: Increasing the performance throughput of one portion of the chip can't really be considered without taking into account how new games stress the architecture. Ultimately you aim for a balanced architecture where the transistors are always busy. The X1900 has these characteristics... to answer your question we'd have to consider expanding the chip in all categories, but then other issues come to play (thermals, cost etc). The X1900 is perfect

 

Question: How much of an increase did the Hier-Z buffer size benefit from, and do you think the primary advantage of such a large size is because Crossfire, just like SLI, tends to be done in AFR and not SFR? Or would resolutions obtainable by non-Crossfire users also benefit?

Answer: More efficient memory storage/access improves performance of higher resolutions, correct. This applies to single card and CF users.

 

Question: Will the X1900 ever be available in an AGP flavor? Shouldn't the Rialto chip make such a card easy to make?

Answer: This card is targeted to the high end user... so PCI-E is the obvious choice. I cant discuss unannounced products, but right now X1900 is available as a PCIE card only

 

Question: What features does the x1900 have that should convince us to purchase it over the 7900?

Answer: Performance leadership, HDR+AA, high quality texture filtering, CrossFire superAA, video playback (AVIVO), future proof architecture (designed for future games, the recognized choice for Vista), CF performance... I can go on

 

Question: With todays buzz about Physics, are there any plans to support X1900 (and other ATI cards) to utilize additional onboard ATI's IGP as PPU?

Answer: One of the benefits of the X1900's programmability, floating point throughput etc is that shader cycles can be used for more generic processing than fixed T&L pipelines. The creativity is dependent on the ISV, and can include things beyond calculating pixel colours. Unfortunately I cant discuss unannounced products etc...

 

Question: You cannot deny that CF is not as mature as SLI. What steps are being taken in order to catch up and/or take the performance lead?

Answer: Performance leadership checkmark is under the CF column - this has been measured and reviewed. CF also has full speed superAA which SLI can't do without seeing a huge performance drop for some reason, so in that respect there isn't even a contest.

 

Question: Will ATI use technologies gained or used in their console ventures such as from Nintendo Wii or the Xbox360 features in modern cards be it hardware or software, and could such features be added in a x1900 refresh?

Answer: This discusses unannounced products... I'm really sorry cant speak to that.

 

Question: Where are the promised performance gains on a per-game basis from new drivers for the X1900 line due to it's programmable memory controller?

Answer: Driver updates are a great way for end users to get free performance boosts... Different games at different settings tax the architecture in different ways, so how these gains are seen can't be discussed without getting into a much broader discussion. Memory storage/access optimization is one area where performance gains can materialize

 

Question: Any new ATi demos in the pipeline to show off the X1900's capabilities?

Answer: Actually there was some interesting content developed in a smaller scale demo that I heard about from our demo group... I'll get back to you on that

 

Question: Why is the X1900 series priced higher in Canada than in the US, even after the exchange rate?

Answer: Street price is influenced by a number of factors. One of which is the price from the manufacturer (ATI), but also pricing from distribution, retail, the online store etc. All these players need to be taken into account. There isn't an easy answer to your question, unfortunately

 

Question: Why is NVidia perceived as the market leader when ATI clearly has the performance lead and also offers superior image quality/iq-enhancing options?

Answer: In my opinion ATI is percieved as the market leader, so i cant really answer your question the way it is asked. But i do agree there is clear performance and feature set leadership in the high end

 

Question: Does the x1900 have the capability to run Physics calc and rendering on the current GPU? If so, can it be compared to AGEIA's offering?

Answer: programmability and high precision formats open a lot of doors in terms of what can be done in the shader processors. More than only calculating pixel colours, and we've demonstrated that with a few interesting apps in the past

 

Question: why does ATI kick so much ass? :D

Answer: I can only answer that question in 43 parts... a 'one-liner' cant do justice to your question. But thanks.

 

Ratchet: ok great. That's the end of the chat. Thanks to ATI for participating and taking our questions.
Ratchet Daniel, I guess the easiest way to determine a winner is simply to pick a guy at random. How about that?

ATI: I pick jonZ. Just because. Congrats JonZ you won something great

ATI: Thanks everyone for participating! ciao

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