CeBIT 2008 - Previewing The Trends

HIS Radeon HD3870 X2 (H387X2F1GNP)

HIS Radeon HD3870 X2 (H387X2F1GNP)

On paper, AMD/ATI is still in the lead, even at this year's CeBIT, since its new Radeon graphics chips belonging to the 3000 series are already compatible with DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1. While we have seen nothing more than rumours regarding Nvidia and its GX2 dual-GPU graphics card, ATI and board partner HIS are ready with a dual-chip card. The HD3870 X2 (R680) features two Radeon GPUs which in single-chip cards are known as HD 3870 parts (RV670). Communication between the two chips is handled through an on-board CrossFire link that does not have to be activated through the driver. Any game optimized for CrossFire thus practically has the power of two HD 3870's at its disposal.

The technical data read like something straight out of an automotive tuning magazine - 2 GPUs with a total of 640 stream processors (2 x 320) running at a clock speed of 825 MHz. The card packs a total of 1.3 billion transistors on the GPUs alone (2 x 666 million). 2 x 512 MB of GDDR3 memory running at 900 MHz are available for texture filtering and other image quality enhancements. The Radeon HD 3870 X2 measures 27 cm in length and sports a dual-slot cooler with a powerful fan that expels warm air out of the case and is surprisingly quiet in 2D mode.

For now, there is still room left for speculation as neither AMD/ATI nor HIS are providing any information regarding their CeBIT highlights. However, we have two potential predictions. The first would be that ATi releases the Quad-CrossFire enabled driver that has been locked so far, which would allow users to pair two HD 3870 X2 cards, resulting in the performance of four GPUs and 4 x 512 MB of video memory. The second potential highlight could be a slightly faster and quieter IceQ variant of the HD 3870 X2 made by HIS. So far we don't have any concrete information, but perhaps HIS will run with this idea.

HIS is set up in Hall 21 at stand B08 .