ATi R520 Preview
ATi has originally planned to launch their next generation R520 at Computex Taipei 2005 but was faced several delays. According to sources from several AIB partners, the most likely launch for ATI R520 now is mid October. We have taken a first look at a R520 Rev 02 engineering sample!
A joint effort by VR-Zone &
ATi next generation R520 has been experiencing several delays
in launch. In order to eager readers, we specially brought back a ATi R520 REV02
engineering sample from Taiwan to let everyone to have a first look.
First look : ATi Radeon Fudo (R520)
ATI has originally planned to launch their next generation
R520 at Computex Taipei 2005 but was faced several delays from July 26th to 27th
August to 20th September. According to sources from several AIB partners, the
most likely launch for ATI R520 now is mid October. However, we will keep our
fingers crossed on this since several misses have happened causing many users to
lose faith in the credibility of the launch of R520 and even suspect if R520
really exists. To satisfy readers’ curiosity on R520, we have specially pay a
visit to one of the Taiwanese card makers and obtain a R520 Rev 02 engineering
sample and it is the first time that a R520 card is exposed.
According to the card maker, the Rev 05 engineering sample may
differ slightly from the final PCB when launched. The cooler solution on the
card is yet to be determined and the original intention is the use the Dual Slot
cooling solution. Since the R520 core is manufactured on 90nm micron process
with power optimizations therefore the final sample may employ single slot
cooling solution. This time round, we did not receive the cooler from the card
maker therefore we use our own cooling solution. At first, we thought that the
R520 mounting holes will be similar to X850XT but it seems otherwise. In fact,
it is similar to the GeForce 6800 Ultra so we employ a nVidia cooler to R520
Comparing the ATI R520 Rev 2 card against the previous
generation Radeon X850XT PE, we can observe that the PCB is longer at 229mm
similar to GeForce 7800GTX. According to our source, the R520 core is design
with 32 pipelines in mind but due to yield problem, not all the pipelines can be
utilized. We expect R520 will have 16pp, 24pp and 32pp versions using 90nm
micron process technology from TSMC. Die size is at 16mm x 18mm and will support
Shader Model 3.0 and Direct X 9.0c. According to our source, the R520XT sample
will be clocked at 650Mhz core and support 512bit Memory internal bus but only
Samsung -1.26ns GDDR3 !!
On memory aspect, the R520 engineering card sample has 8
Samsung K4J52324QC-BJ12 GDDR3 memory chips onboard. The shape of the memory
chips are different from the usual GDDR3 memory chips we have seen so far.
Instead of the usual 144 Ball FBGA package, it uses 136 Ball FBGA package. The
memory array is organized as 2M x 32Bit x 8 Bank and voltage at 2.0V. BJ12
represent memory speed at 1.26ns which translates to a maximum frequency of
1.6GHz. As opposed to GeForce 7800GTX memory specs of 1.6ns, the memories used
on the R520 are of much higher specs. ATI set the memory clock on R520 at 1.4GHz
therefore there are still much headroom for overclocking.
Like the GeForce 7800GTX, R520 support 2 Dual Link DVI
outputs, Dual 400Mhz RAMDAC, Dual-Link TMDS transmitters and highest resolution
at 2560×1600 32Bit@60Hz. On the PCB, there are ATI Rage Theater providing VIVO
Is the performance better than GeForce 7800GTX?
As the card maker doesn’t wish to reveal the R520 performance
yet, but we can confirm that R520 at 24pp or 32pp will not be lower than that of
the GeForce 7800GTX. Even though the 32pp and 24pp R520 mass production will
face some difficulties, but the 16 pipelines R520 using the 90nm core will be
clocked high to maintain a certain level of competitiveness. Apart from
employing TSMC to make the 90nm R520 cores, UMC will be making them as well in
the near future to make up the shortage problem and we can see more of the 32pp
and 24pp R520 versions.