Next-gen Radeons to be multi-core?


— 6:00 AM on November 26, 2007

Modern graphics processors rely on extensive amounts of parallelism to get calculations done as quickly as possible, but those GPUs are still monolithic chips designed with a given number of stream processors, texture units, render back-ends, and the like, each depending on their performance grade. However, the folks at Fudzilla say they have it on good authority that AMD will challenge that paradigm with its next-generation graphics processor, code-named R700. According to Fudzilla, low-end, mid-range, and high-end R700 cards will all have GPUs with varying numbers of identical R700 cores. To determine speed grades, AMD will simply outfit higher-end cards with more R700 cores.

AMD's top-of-the-line R700 product, for instance, will supposedly have four or more R700 cores in one die and will be able to crunch nearly two trillion floating point operations per second, or teraFLOPS. By contrast, Fudzilla explains that the existing Radeon HD 3870 is in the 500 gigaFLOPS range. FLOPS don't tell the whole story, of course, but high-end R700 cards will be an order of magnitude faster than existing products if those numbers are even remotely accurate.

Interestingly, this rumor sounds similar to information that recently seeped out about Intel's Larrabee project. Larrabee is expected to be a discrete, game-worthy Intel graphics processor scheduled for the not-too-distant future, and an Intel presentation nabbed by Beyond3D in April suggests Larrabee products will be based on multiple, small "throughput cores." A diagram showed a chip based on ten of those cores with a shared pool of 4MB of cache.

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