Finally. We're finally getting somewhere interesting in the graphics industry. Although they're sure to return, the days of reviewing $600 graphics card after $600 graphics card are on hiatus, and instead we're reviewing a new class of mainstream cards with earth-shattering performance.

NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GT kicked off the trend, in one fell swoop making almost all of NVIDIA's product line obsolete thanks to the high performance and low price tag (we'll talk about that last part shortly). But what we saw there wasn't a fluke, it was a preemptive strike against AMD, who have been hard at work on an affordable GPU of their own.

This new product, like the 8800 GT, would be aimed squarely at the $150 - $250 market segment, something both AMD and NVIDIA did a horrible job at with mainstream releases earlier this year (2600 and 8600 both sucked guys).

Introducing the RV670

AMD's two new graphics cards launching today are both based off a new GPU, referred to internally as the RV670. The basic architecture of the hardware is largely unchanged from R600; there has been some additional functionality added, and a great deal of internal bandwidth removed, but other than that this is very much an R600 based part.

The biggest news of this part is that it is fabbed on a 55nm TSMC process. This is a half-node process based on 65nm technology, giving AMD an advantage in die size (cost) and potentially clock speed and/or power.

Historically, AMD's RV series has been a cost cut version of their R series designed for lower end volume parts, and that's where RV670 started. Right of the bat, half the external and internal memory bandwidth of R600 was cut out. External bandwidth dropped from 512-bit to 256-bit, but AMD stuck with 8 memory channels (each dropped from 64bit to 32bit).

Internally, the ring bus dropped from 1024-bit to 512-bit. This cut in bandwidth contributed to a significant drop in transistor count from R600's ~720M. RV670 is made up of 666M transistors, and this includes the addition of UVD hardware, some power saving features, the necessary additions for DX 10.1 and the normal performance tuning we would expect from another iteration of the architecture.

Processing power remains unchanged from the R600; the RV670 features 320 stream processors, 16 texture units and 16 redner back-ends. Clock speeds have gone up slightly and memory speeds have increased tremendously to make up for the narrower memory bus.

The RV670 GPU is also fully PCI Express 2.0 compliant like NVIDIA's G92, the heart and soul of the GeForce 8800 GT.

New Features you Say? UVD and DirectX 10.1
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  • MrKaz - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Anand do you think Crossfire scaling would improve if you used some X38 or rd580?
    Or the 4x PCIe slot on 965 doesn’t affect it much?

    Does the 790 and Phenom get reviewed this month?

    Continue the good work!
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Personally I don't think the chipset is at fault for poor scaling here, but you do make a good point - I'll see if we can run some numbers internally and figure that out.

    Indeed this isn't the only AMD product that gets reviewed this month...

    :)
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Woops, my mistake, Derek ran the CF tests and they were on a P35 board and not a P965. I've updated the article accordingly.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • MrKaz - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Thanks Anand! Reply
  • jcromano - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    From page 5:
    quote:

    Looking at our own price search engine we see that only Amazon is listing a card available at $249, but it's not in stock, nor are any of the other more expensive 8800 GTs listed.


    I have been unable to use the RTPE for the past two weeks or so. What's the trick? Here is the error it gives me:
    quote:

    Warning: mysql_pconnect(): Lost connection to MySQL server during query in /var/www/vweb/rtpeserve/php/login.php on line 53


    Jim
    Reply
  • Crassus - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Yep. Same here error message here, both in Firefox and IE. I've been trying to make use of the RTPE for weeks now, without success. Or was it converted to Anandtech "staff only" use? ;c) Reply
  • jcromano - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Ok. Thanks for the quick response. I look forward to the return of the RTPE, but maybe your shopping page can substitute in the meantime.

    Cheers,
    Jim
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    I was talking about http://anandtech.shopping.com">http://anandtech.shopping.com, currently working on getting a solution to the RTPE issues :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • dm0r - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Loved the review and also the 3850....this is the real midrange card ill buy...excellent power consumption.
    Just only 1 thing missing is the temperature of the gpu's, but anyway excellent review
    Thanks
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Why are you recommending people wait for the 256MB of the GT? That model has no bearing on anything for people playing Crysis, CoD4, World in Conflict, etc. All the testing done on the 512MB GT shows that 512MB is really the new minimum for vRAM for gamers running a 19" or larger display and the 256MB model is well and truly irrelevant to their purchase options.
    Instead, the reason they should wait a couple weeks is just to see how the 512MB's availability and pricing changes.
    Reply

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