updated 02:50 pm EDT, Mon October 22, 2007
ATI Radeon HD 3800 Leak
AMD is planning to revamp its ATI-branded graphics card line with new mid-range models next month, claims a leak from the Chinese division of enthuisiast site Tom's Hardware. To be called the Radeon HD 3800 series, the graphics chipsets will reportedly improve performance chiefly through a die shrink: all models will be built on a 55-nanometer process versus the 65 nanometers of today's Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 cards, allowing cards built on the technology to run faster without generating extra heat. Unlike past releases, these mainstream cards will still have a full 320 "stream" processors to handle pixel and vertex units. The memory pathway will also be 256-bit, or twice as wide as the outgoing Radeon HD 2600, according to the report.
The top model, known as the Radeon HD 3870, should be targeted at NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 8800 GT and will come with an 825MHz core clock speed and 512MB of memory. The lower-end Radeon HD 3850 will clock at 668MHz with half the memory but will occupy just a single slot, the leak alleges. Both would continue to optionally support more than just traditional graphics, and can partially accelerate game physics with the right support or relay 5.1 surround audio through its DVI port courtesy of a special DVI-to-HDMI adapter. Upcoming computer mainboards will also support CrossFire X, an enhanced version of AMD's multi-card technology that should permit as many as four video cards to accelerate 3D on a single display.
Retail pricing for the new cards has not been identified, though their launch is expected on November 15th -- two weeks after NVIDIA's anticipated 8800 GT release -- and should occupy a price between $200 and $300 to fill the gap between the Radeon HD 2600 and 2900 cards and any of their future replacements. Operating system support has not been mentioned in the leak, though Apple presently uses the Radeon HD 2400 and 2600 in its aluminum iMac models.
Radeon HD 3850
Radeon HD 3870