Tech Demos, GPGPU, Physics and Bundle Info
With the launch of every new GPU inevitably comes an influx of new demos designed to showcase the new hardware's functionality. With the launch of the Radeon HD 2000 series, ATI has created a number of new tech demos, two of which we'll outline below.
Before you are six images captured from the brand new Ruby: Whiteout demo. By now most of you have probably seen the older Ruby demos, like 'The Assassin'. The new Whiteout demo differs from The Assassin in that Ruby is now much more complex. In The Assassin, Ruby was comprised of roughly 80K polys and her face had only 4 morph targets. In Whiteout, however, Ruby is now comprised of approximately 200K polys and her face has 129 morph targets. The scenes themselves have been beefed up as well, up from about 1m total polys in The Assassin to 2m in Whiteout and with higher resolution textures. The complexity of the mountains in the Ruby: Whiteout demo can also be altered on the fly thanks to the Radeon HD 2000 series' built-in tessellator, a custom shader was programmed for realistic snow accumulation, and the height maps are all procedurally generated.
Another of ATI's new demos was called Stereo Block Builder. It worked by using a pair of Radeon HD 2900 XT cards to gather data recorded by a pair of cameras and from that data 3D models were constructed from small blocks, similar to Legos.
The images captured by the cameras were rendered in real time on the tiny individual blocks and the blocks could be realistically manipulated in the environment. The physics calculations necessary for the blocks to move and interact with each other were also performed on the GPU.
ATI also showed us a medical imaging demonstration and Mike Houston from Stanford University's Folding @ Home project was on hand to praise the R600's ability to churn through work units at a rate of up to 470 GigaFLOPs. If you remember, the R600's 320 stream processors, when running at 740MHz, have a theoretical peak math processing rate of 475 GigaFLOPs. And Mike measured a Radeon HD 2900 XT at up to 470 GigaFLOPs, which is very close to its theoretical maximum.
As cool at ATI's tech demos are, this last batch of screenshots is sure to please many more of you. If you remember back a few years, ATI reamed up with Valve and offered vouchers for a free copy of Half Life 2 with some Radeon purchases. With the Radeon HD 2000 XT, ATI and Valve have teamed up once again to offer not one, but three upcoming titles. ATI has built the price of Valve's 'Black Box' game bundle into the price of their R600 GPU and all board partners will be including vouchers for the full version of The Black Box, which is comprised of Half Life 2: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. All three of these games look great and the inclusion of the Black Box voucher ads significant value to the Radeon HD 2900 XT.