ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT - R600 Has Arrived

Intro, Specs and Related Info


Take a look at the red-head standing over there.  If you're a regular reader here at HotHardware, you know exactly who she is.  That's ATI's adventurous and oh-so-curvaceous front-woman, Ruby.  And she's holding that 'Perfect 10' sign for a very good reason.  It's probably not the reason you're thinking of, however.  For a digital personality, she's definitely pretty darn hot; maybe not a 10 in our book, but pretty darn close nonetheless.  No, she's holding that sign not as proclamation of her hotness, but rather to give you all a hint as to what ATI has in store for the PC in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Today is the day many PC enthusiasts have been waiting for.  And we say this with some hard data to reference.  In January we ran a poll and nearly 40% of over 4,000 respondents said they were waiting to see ATI's next-gen R600 architecture before passing judgment on the already-released GeForce 8 Series.  Despite the arrival of a clearly more powerful and significantly more feature-rich GPU architecture, an almost equal number of you decided to wait to see ATI's hand before betting on NVIDIA's G80. Today, we can finally tell you what ATI's been working on for the past few years and that 'Perfect 10' sign reveals part of the story.

ATI has chosen today, May 14, 2007 - my second wedding anniversary, incidentally - to reveal a line-up of 10 desktop and mobile GPUs, all derived from their R600 architecture. The line-up consists of sub-$100 entry level graphics cards to a $399 high-end part that's designed to do battle with NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GTS.  What about taking on the GeForce 8800 GTX and Ultra, you ask?  Well, the new, AMD-owned ATI is moving in a somewhat different direction now, and at least currently, they don't plan to produce a low-volume, ultra-high performing part that only a fraction of the enthusiast crowd can afford.  We know, some of you are crestfallen right now; we were too at first.  But don't sweat it.  The arrival of the R600 and its derivatives is a very good thing.  We'll try to better explain on the pages ahead.  For now, here are the specification of ATI's new flagship graphics card, officially named the Radeon HD 2900 XT.

ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT
Features & Specifications
700 million transistors on 80nm HS fabrication process

512-bit 8-channel GDDR3/4 memory interface

Ring Bus Memory Controller

  • Fully distributed design with 1024-bit internal ring bus for memory reads and writes
  • Optimized for high performance HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering at high display resolutions

Unified Superscalar Shader Architecture

  • 320 stream processing units
    • Dynamic load balancing and resource allocation for vertex, geometry, and pixel shaders
    • Common instruction set and texture unit access supported for all types of shaders
    • Dedicated branch execution units and texture address processors
  • 128-bit floating point precision for all operations
  • Command processor for reduced CPU overhead
  • Shader instruction and constant caches
  • Up to 80 texture fetches per clock cycle
  • Up to 128 textures per pixel
  • Fully associative multi-level texture cache design
  • DXTC and 3Dc+ texture compression
  • High resolution texture support (up to 8192 x 8192)
  • Fully associative texture Z/stencil cache designs
  • Double-sided hierarchical Z/stencil buffer
  • Early Z test, Re-Z, Z Range optimization, and Fast Z Clear
  • Lossless Z & stencil compression (up to 128:1)
  • Lossless color compression (up to 8:1)
  • 8 render targets (MRTs) with anti-aliasing support
  • Physics processing support

Full support for Microsoft DirectX 10.0

  • Shader Model 4.0
  • Geometry Shaders
  • Stream Output
  • Integer and Bitwise Operations
  • Alpha to Coverage
  • Constant Buffers
  • State Objects
  • Texture Arrays

Dynamic Geometry Acceleration

  • High performance vertex cache
  • Programmable tessellation unit
  • Accelerated geometry shader path for geometry amplification
  • Memory read/write cache for improved stream output performance

Anti-aliasing features

  • Multi-sample anti-aliasing (up to 8 samples per pixel)
  • Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA) for improved quality
  • Adaptive super-sampling and multi-sampling
  • Temporal anti-aliasing
  • Gamma correct
  • Super AA (CrossFire configurations only)
  • All anti-aliasing features compatible with HDR rendering

CrossFire Multi-GPU Technology

  • Scale up rendering performance and image quality with 2 or more GPUs
  • Integrated compositing engine
  • High performance dual channel interconnect
Texture filtering features
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x high quality adaptive anisotropic filtering modes (up to 128 taps per pixel)
  • 128-bit floating point HDR texture filtering
  • Bicubic filtering
  • sRGB filtering (gamma/degamma)
  • Percentage Closer Filtering (PCF)
  • Depth & stencil texture (DST) format support
  • Shared exponent HDR (RGBE 9:9:9:5) texture format support

ATI Avivo HD Video and Display Platform

  • Two independent display controllers
    • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls and video overlays for each display
    • Full 30-bit display processing
    • Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion
    • Spatial/temporal dithering provides 30-bit color quality on 24-bit and 18-bit displays
    • High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all display outputs
    • Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
    • Fast, glitch-free mode switching
    • Hardware cursor
  • Two integrated dual-link DVI display outputs
    • Each supports 18-, 24-, and 30-bit digital displays at all resolutions up to 1920x1200 (single-link DVI) or 2560x1600 (dual-link DVI)
    • Each includes a dual-link HDCP encoder with on-chip key storage for high resolution playback of protected content
  • Two integrated 400 MHz 30-bit RAMDACs
    • Each supports analog displays connected by VGA at all resolutions up to 2048x1536
  • HDMI output support
    • Supports all display resolutions up to 1920x1080
    • Integrated HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support, enabling a plug-and-play cable-less audio solution
  • Integrated Xilleon HDTV encoder
    • Provides high quality analog TV output (component / S-video / composite)
    • Supports SDTV and HDTV resolutions
    • Underscan and overscan compensation
  • HD decode for H.264/AVC, VC-1, DivX and MPEG-2 video formats
    • Flawless DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-Ray playback
    • Motion compensation and IDCT (Inverse Discrete Cosine Transformation)
  • HD video processing
    • Advanced vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
    • De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
    • Edge enhancement
    • Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
    • Bad edit correction
    • High fidelity gamma correction, color correction, color space conversion, and scaling
  • MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264/AVC encoding and transcoding
  • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
  • VGA mode support on all display outputs

PCI Express x16 bus interface

OpenGL 2.0 support



We have a plethora of information related to today's launch available on our site that will help you get familiar with ATI's previous GPU architectures and their key features. The Radeon HD 2900 XT and its derivates in the Radeon HD 2000 family are totally new, but they do have a number of features in common with some members of the Radeon X1K family of products.

If you haven't already done so, we recommend scanning through our CrossFire Multi-GPU technology preview, the Radeon X1950 Pro with Native CrossFire article, the X1K family review, and our NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS launch coverage. In those four pieces, we cover a large number of the features offered by the new Radeon HD 2000 series and explain many of benefits of DirectX 10. We recommended reading these articles because there is quite a bit of background information in them that'll lay the foundation for what we're going to showcase here today.

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