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
POST A COMMENT

114 Comments

View All Comments

  • yacoub - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    I really really like the new style to the charts and graphs. Everything is very easy to read and understand! Much improved over some older review designs! =)

    Also, lol @ how pathetic the 8600GT performs! :D
    Reply
  • Iger - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Actually, in terms of power consumption I would call this round a win for AMD. My home PC is on 24/7, but I really get to play on it for maybe a couple of hours a day at best (actually, probably, much less). AMD leads idle consumption by 40w, while losing the load power by 5. I think for pretty much every one 3870 will turn out cheaper than 8800GT. And I think it's important enough to be mentioned in article (no offence - just trying to be helpful).

    About prices - currently on overclocker.co.uk 8800GT 512 is preorderable for 350$, 8800GT 256 - for 290$, 3870 - for 320$ and 3850 - for 235$ (and AMD cards actually are listed in stock(!!) - impressive).
    With such disposition I would be close to buying a 3850 atm, btw... But, anyway, europe's prices are terrible :(

    Thanks very much for the article - it'll serve to satisfy at least some hunger before Phenom's ;)

    Ilya.
    Reply
  • Leadthorns - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Some review sights suggest that the IQ is marginally better on the 3870. Would be interested to know your take on this Reply
  • lux4424 - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    In 2006 there were number of articles and presentations about benefits of new WDDM (Windows Vista Driver Model). These also mentioned WDDM 2.1, coming with DX10.1, and the benefits it should bring. Couple of examples:
    quote:

    WinHEC 2006, http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/b/9/5b970...">Future Directions In Graphics:
    *) Move to preemptive context switching and page-level memory management
    *) Video, Glitch-resilience: Preemptive context switching in WDDM 2.1 is key
    *) WDDM 2.1 – efficient GPU virtualization


    quote:

    WinHEC 2006, http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/b/9/5b970...">Desktop And Presentation Impact On Hardware Design:
    *) Advanced Scheduling with page level context switching
    *) Direct impact on desktop scenarios



    Since then it's absolute silence on the matter. It would be really great if Anandtech would cover the promises made WRT WDDM 2.1 (DX10.1) or even WDDM 2.0 (DX10) after SP1 for Vista is released.

    Regards
    Reply
  • GTMan - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Sentence with no ending...

    "Hopefully with DX11 Microsoft will be a little more used to the"

    Thanks for the article, interesting reading.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    eep, thanks :)

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

    I am extremely disappointed in the review of the product.

    1) Only Vista was used, though XP has a lot larger user base.

    2) Limited variety of games.

    3) Limited variation of AF/AA

    4) No UVD tests.

    All could be forgiven if the title would have included First Look: DX10. I understand there is a limited time to do tests and it seems you had trouble getting your samples so this could lead to the problem. I usually look to anand for the most complete review of products (rather than having to look at many different incomplete ones sites use), but I believe this review to be incomplete and not what I expect from Anandtech.

    I await follow up reviews to reinstate my faith in this site. (and yes I am sure I will modded down as I will probably been seen as a 'hater' rather than trying to give constructive critism.

    Reply
  • Locut0s - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    1) Only Vista was used, though XP has a lot larger user base.

    You answered your own question there. Remember this card is aimed at the midrange not the enthusiast and even more of these consumers are using XP.

    2) Limited variety of games.

    The games covered though are all the important big names that actually stress these cards and show what they are made of.

    3) Limited variation of AF/AA

    See Anand's reply above

    4) No UVD tests.

    You can see previous reviews to see UVD performance. I doubt this has changed at all since the hardware is identical.
    Reply
  • NullSubroutine - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    I was saying XP should have been benchmarked because it is the largest userbase and most people especially at this price range will be using XP.

    When you limit the number of games benchmark you do not show an accurate performance of a video card, it has been shown that certain games play better on certain cards. Some sites only do reviews with games that are biased towards a certain brand or GPU; I expect that Anandtech is not one of those sites and expect a variety of games that show the true performance of the cards.
    Reply
  • Locut0s - Thursday, November 15, 2007 - link

    Sorry misread your question about XP/Vista. Yes they could test on XP. However it has been shown that the performance difference between the two is fairly small now and is in XPs favour meaning that games should run as good or better than what they show here. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now