AMD on Tuesday debuted its ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series of graphics chips, including its flagship ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 dual-CPU graphics cards; the combination, it claims, delivers 2.4 teraFLOPS of processing power and its value-oriented sibling ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2. The new cards combine two ATI Radeon HD 4800 series GPUs using a faster PCIe 2.0-based interconnect and 2GB of frame buffer memory. Launched in New York City this week, the GPUs are based on the advanced 55nm design and offer DirectX 10.1 support for advanced gaming and ATI CrossFireX for maximum performance: ATI says that the efficient use of all four GPUs in a dual ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 CrossFireX configuration will bring more than three times the performance (using 3DMark Vantage v1.01 benchmarks) of a single ATI Radeon HD 4870 card in many games.
ATI is hoping that its dual-GPU cards, which run at about 1.8x the speed of single-CPU cards (20% overhead), will help it outpace the recently-reduced Nvidia's GTX 280, which packs 1.4 billion transistors (each ATI GPU has about 950 million) and that it is targeting 1.8x the performance of a single GPU. (ATI and Nvidia have taken different approaches: while Nvidia has built larger, power-hungry (single-chip) GPUs, ATI has continued to build cards using two smaller chips to maximize performance).
???AMD has regained the graphics performance crown with this launch,??? said Patrick Cooper, Director of Product Planning, Alienware. ???The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is what gamers have been waiting for??”blistering performance in DirectX 10.1 games backed by stable drivers for great scaling in ATI CrossFireX mode.???
Touting what it calls is "the world??™s fastest" graphics card and the "world??™s first" graphics card to include 2GB GDDR5 memory, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 features two GPUs based on a second-gen 55nm technology and each clocked at 750 MHz, with a combined 1600 stream processors, while the ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2, also with 1600 stream processors (for parallel processing), offers two GPUs clocked at 625 MHz and 2GB of GDDR3 memory.
The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is immediately available worldwide priced at $549, while the ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 is scheduled to be available in September for $399. AMD says that customers can also expect custom-designed products from add-in-board companies such as ASUS, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, VisionTek, and others.