R580 Details Emerge
After speaking with several AIBs today, we have some confirmation that Foxconn already has design kits for ATI's R580 socket. Pipe and clock information for R580 is still not firm, so we will not comment on that at this moment. However, your ATI video card will most likely come with a socket flip chip from ATI. Unlike the NVIDIA socket prototype we commented about yesterday, the R580 socket is geared specifically for a PCIe graphics adaptor, rather than a motherboard-housed GPU socket.
However even with a dedicated socket, graphic card memory would still need to be soldered onto the board. The narrow tolerances of GPU memory would not allow for a DIMM-like solution. ATI's newest R520 GPU already advertises support for a wide range of memory products, including memory that has not even been announced yet.
Vendors tell us R580 is some ways away, so don't expect anything between now and CeBit. However, now that ATI's XBOX 360 project is winding down, expect the company to utilize more resources for R580, Crossfire and the Xpress chipset in the coming weeks.
AGEIA might have a run for it's money if ATI has anything to say about it. One AIB commented today that the idea of a dedicated scalar mathematics processor for game physics could already be replicated on ATI's R520 series silicon, although drivers for such a project only exist in R+D departments (the vendor wouldn't let us have them, we tried). The idea of offloading math to a GPU is not a new idea; many projects exist for Linux for this already. However, the indication we had was that ATI could actually do physics calculations on the card with the graphics processing simultaniously -- the bandwidth is already there. AGEIA's physics processor has already been delayed well into Q2 next year.