ATI HyperMemory Technology For Graphics - Preview

ATi HyperMemory - High Level Overview

HyperMemory Architecture
Feature Synopsis

In most legacy graphics system implementations, the graphics card doesn't have a direct link to system memory at all.  All workloads are limited to the card's local memory and GPU, which is then transferred via the AGP bus or PCI Express Graphics link to the Northbridge.  This is the common configuration we are all used to seeing with both AGP and PCI Express interfaces in all levels of video card models from entry-level to the premium gaming-class cards.

Typical Graphics Card Configuration

HyperMemory Graphics Card Configuration

With a HyperMemory equipped video card, system memory is directly accessible by the graphics card, much like integrated graphics, which combines with the card's local memory to increase available frame buffer.  However, unlike integrated graphics which reserves a portion of system memory at all times, HyperMemory is dynamic, constantly adjusting based on demand and priority.  To accomplish this, three components are utilized, HyperMemory Software, a HyperMemory Memory Controller and the PCI Express link.  This design allows HyperMemory to manage memory requests, prioritizing which data set gets sent to the video memory and which goes to the system memory.  This dynamic process allows for efficient management of data flow, placing higher priority data in the video card's local memory for faster access while utilizing the system memory for the larger but higher latency requests. 

During the memory call process, HyperMemory's software component analyzes memory requests and decides whether system or local memory is used.  Additionally, the software can dynamically react to new requests and move data from local memory to system memory and vise versa, freeing up resources as needed.  If necessary, HyperMemory can also move data from system memory to the system pagefile too.

With HyperMemory, ATI is boasting better performance over an equivalent TurboCache model, with half the system memory of the TurboCache test system.  ATI also claims better video playback performance with less dropped frames and less CPU utilization than TurboCache cards.  In the next segment we'll look at a few performance projections provide to us by ATI.

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