AMD's "Small-Die" Strategy

We outlined AMD's "new" GPU strategy in our Radeon HD 4850 preview article, but in short AMD has committed to designing GPUs for the mainstream $199 - $299 segment and simply using CrossFire (multi-GPU) to address higher end markets. NVIDIA on the other hand will continue to make very large monolithic GPUs in order to continue to push the industry forward. Both approaches are appreciated and necessary, they simply target different markets.

In our GT200 review we highlighted the fact that NVIDIA had built an extremely large, highly parallel, microprocessor. With 1.4 billion transistors and a die size of around 576 mm^2, NVIDIA's GT200 is nothing short of huge.

The table on the previous page shows that AMD's RV770, despite being aimed at mainstream gamer price points ($199 - $299), is also very large. At 956M transistors, the RV770 has 44% more transistors than RV670 and 68% the transistor count of NVIDIA's GT200. We threw the RV770 into NVIDIA's die size comparison just for kicks:


Based on what we know of NVIDIA's die size, this should be to scale

Even AMD's die, although designed to be svelte and affordable, is big - especially for being fabbed at TSMC. NVIDIA still holds the crown for largest die fabbed at TSMC, but AMD shows us that even a more mainstream approach still requires tons of transistors. As we mentioned in our 4850 preview:

"A pair of RV770s, AMD's new GPU, end up consuming more power than a single GT200 - despite being built on a smaller 55nm process.

A pair of these RV770s only costs $400 compared to $650 for a single GT200, but I suspect that part of that is due to differences in manufacturing process. If NVIDIA hadn't been so risk averse with the GT200 and built it on 55nm (not that I'm advocating it, simply posing a hypothetical), the cost differences would be smaller - if not in favor of NVIDIA since GT200 is built on a single card.

When the smoke clears, AMD's strategy is to simply build a GPU for the masses and attempt to scale it up and down. While NVIDIA is still building its GPUs the same way it has for decades, starting very large and scaling down.

AMD isn't taking a radically different approach to building and designing GPUs than NVIDIA, it's simply building one market segment lower."

We've got a lot of discussion on efficiency between AMD and NVIDIA coming up in this article, although AMD's die is noticeably smaller than NVIDIA's - as you've already seen with the Radeon HD 4850 - there are many areas where RV770 can go toe-to-toe with NVIDIA's mammoth GT200.

Index Building a RV770
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  • feelingshorter - Friday, June 27, 2008 - link

    Go with the one with the warranty. Which would be visiontech life time warranty. Asus does offer a 3 year warranty also. Reply
  • Nehemoth - Friday, June 27, 2008 - link

    Check this one
    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38145/135/">http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38145/135/
    Reply
  • Gannon - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - link

    No supreme commander? :-O Reply
  • designerfx - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - link

    http://bensbargains.net/deal/69638/">http://bensbargains.net/deal/69638/


    195 -> 20$ rebate newegg -> 20$ rebate bensbargains = $155!

    To think this card will get cheaper yet!

    I'm buying one asap. This is a freakin steal at 150 bucks.
    Reply
  • QEFX - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - link

    Heck, pick up 2. $310 for CF 4850s! Now there's "bang for the buck" on games that actually work properly with crossfire. Reply
  • Jjunior130 - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - link

    can i haz quantum physix? lol Reply
  • Mustanggt - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - link

    I was watching the 8800GT SLI and it was in the top 2 most of the test, for less than the price of 2 4870s i could pick up a SLI board and another 8800 GT. perhaps also a E8400 to equal the $600 on 2 of these 4870s in CF. I am talking about the resolution i use that the 8800GT was looking very good in SLI 1680x1050 Reply
  • BusterGoode - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - link

    I'd like to see the differnce the GDDR5 made and since clocking the 4850 up may not be possible right now it would be nice to see the 4870 slowed down. If this has been asked or done sorry so much info pouring out now it is hard to keep up, thanks! Reply
  • DerekWilson - Sunday, June 29, 2008 - link

    this is an interesting request ... we'll look at the possibility ... Reply
  • BusterGoode - Sunday, June 29, 2008 - link

    Thanks, great article by the way Anandtech is my first stop for reviews. Reply

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