DisplayPort and Hybrid Graphics

DisplayPort is basically a next step from DVI. HDMI has definitely emerged as the next connection standard in CE devices, but is not suited to the evolving needs of the PC market. The underlying design of DisplayPort is an extensible micro-packet based communication method with an auxiliary channel that will allow displays to more highly integrate with the PCs to which they are connected.

Daisy chaining devices is supported, which could allow multiple monitors to be plugged into the same computer to replicate the display. Future versions of DisplayPort will even support things like multiple video streams over a single physical connection. Some of the other cool features that current graphics cards might not take advantage of are the ability to send 16 bit per component data over the cable. Quad HD resolutions are also in the works while resolutions of 2560x1600 are supported currently.

While AMD's adoption leads a real need for it, having the ability to support DisplayPort in a market that plans on moving in that direction is a logical step. We should see adapters to single-link DVI and HDMI available, whereas converters would be needed for dual-link DVI and analog VGA. Connector change is always difficult, and hopefully the move to DisplayPort will be the last in a while and we can move away from the HD-15 and multitude of different DVI connectors once and for all. Of course, at this point, card venders will still need to choose to put DisplayPort connectors on their boards.

The lower end 3400 line will support Hybrid Graphics. This essentially allows AMD on-board and add-in cards to work together to render graphics. During 2D or low power operation, the on-board graphics will be used. When more horsepower is needed, the Radeon HD 3450 or 3470 will be able to work together with the on-board graphics chip to render the scene faster. This means owners of AMD boards with built in graphics will get more for their money when the buy a cheap graphics card.

While two times garbage is just more trash, we'll have to test this out ourselves to see if it enables the use of any more features, higher resolutions, or significantly smoother framerates. We wouldn't expect miracles, but if this offers a tangible benefit to consumers with low end hardware it's certainly a good thing.

AMD touts Hybrid Graphics as also offering lower power, quieter operation, and four monitor support in addition to the potential for faster graphics on low end systems. I don't know that we'll be recommending this solution for gamers, but it might be nice of an HTPC user who wants quiet operation, good video playback, and the potential to play a few games here and there.

The Hardware Final Words
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  • LostPassword - Monday, February 04, 2008 - link

    when are you guys going to actually review it? Reply
  • Mazen - Monday, March 17, 2008 - link

    Would be nice to finally see that review Reply
  • Mazen - Monday, January 28, 2008 - link

    Thanks for that article. I would love to see you guys pushing these cards at 2560x1600 resolution when decoding a H.264 or VC-1 to see if they are powerful enough to manage 1600p. I think that AMD put out in their press release that the 3450 will have hiccups at 1440p but that the 3470 will be able to manage that resolution just fine. Can we please please (pretty please) see if these card will handle decoding at that resolution? Reply
  • dvijaydev46 - Thursday, January 24, 2008 - link

    Why isn't there a review on those newest ATI products yet? legitreviews has responded to it long ago. Reply
  • eye smite - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    First of all, yesterday on dailytech the sister site to this one, in the daily reviews section are websites already reviewing the HD3870X2 card and it showing in most benchmarks a noticeable lead of the top nvidia card.

    Second, if ATI gives anandtech a card to test last, who can blame them. I mean after all they published a review on the phenom that was more a rant than a review on the cpu. I say up the ra to the editors and writers at anand. I come here for a good laugh from time to time, but reading your articles for the last few months has me rating you in the same class as gizmodo and what they did at CES 2008. Hope you all go back to journalistic basics and become a reputable site like Tom's Hardware again one day.
    Reply
  • AssBall - Thursday, January 24, 2008 - link

    I say up the ra to the editors and writers at anand. I come here for a good laugh from time to time, but reading your articles for the last few months has me rating you in the same class as gizmodo and what they did at CES 2008. Hope you all go back to journalistic basics and become a reputable site like Tom's Hardware again one day.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    I LoL'ed. Toms Hardware rofl... That was a good one!
    Reply
  • StormEffect - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    I'm also curious how these cards will compete with the current Nvidia low and mid range cards. Until the G92 refresh hits those segments, it looks like ATI will be leading those markets.

    Also, the 3870 X2 utilizes internal crossfire. Games do not need crossfire compatibility to run on the 3870 X2. The card appears as a single GPU to the OS. There are already reviews for the 3870 X2, and it looks as though ATI has taken the crown in a few benchmarks.
    Reply
  • djc208 - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    I'm looking forward to how these actually handle HD playback. I stayed away from the 2400 in my HTPC because the benchmarks said it wasn't quit powerful enough for HD playback.
    If the $50 3450 can handle H.264 playback at HDTV resolutions with no issues I can skip the $250 SageTV HD extender and use that money for the new Hauppage HD capture card and one of these instead.
    Reply
  • Slash3 - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    I4U has a review of the Radeon HD 3450 HTPC (passive cooling, low profile) up here:

    http://www.i4u.com/section-viewarticle-368.html">http://www.i4u.com/section-viewarticle-368.html

    It looks like it offloads a significant amount of the video decoding to the GPU, and could be the perfect HTPC card for a lot of people.
    Reply
  • themadmilkman - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    Do these cards REALLY need active cooling? Judging by the size of the heatsink and fan, and the size of heatsinks on other cards that have been replaced with passive cooling, it doesn't seem like these cards would actually need to be actively cooled.

    I may be wrong, of course, since conjectures based off of one chart and a few pictures are often wrong. But if the 3650 performs well (I'm currently running a 7600GS, it should definitely be an upgrade) and a silent version is produced, I may have a new card.
    Reply

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