Now that we’ve had a look at the hardware, let’s go over the feature highlights provided to us by Sapphire:
|TeraScale Graphics Engine
The powerful new TeraScale graphics engine features deliver high resolutions and fast frame rates.
|A promise made by every video card manufacturer about just about every product; we’ll see shortly if they deliver.|
|Enhanced Anti-Aliasing & Anisotropic Filtering
High performance anisotropic filtering and 24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) smooth jagged edges and create true-to-life graphics, for everything from grass to facial features.
|Anti-aliasing reduces the perception of jagged lines and edges, while anisotropic filtering improves texture sharpness on objects that are at a distance from the camera. ATI-based cards have historically been strong in delivering high-quality AA without a significant performance hit, we’ll see if this one lives up to the legacy.|
Play today while preparing for tomorrow with state-of-the-art DirectX 10.1 graphics capabilities.
|Though industry adoption of DirectX 10 has been slow due to the large remaining install base of Windows XP machines, DX10 capability is essential for full graphical fidelity in the games that utilize it.|
|ATI CrossFireX™ Technology
ATI CrossFireX™ technology with up to quad GPU support offers superior scalability so your system is ready to level up when you are.
|ATI’s latest attempt at multi-gpu support allows the simultaneous use of up to four cards in one system, when used with a compatible motherboard. The gains this nets you vary by game, but it can sometimes provide a nice boost.|
|PCI Express 2.0
Support for PCI Express 2.0 will prepare you for bandwidth-hungry games and 3D applications.
|The PCI-Express 2.0 specification provides double the data rate and transfer rate of the older PCI-e 1.x specs, helping to remove potential bottlenecks|
|Power to Spare
This GPU has the brute processing power needed for physics, artificial intelligence, stream computing and ray tracing calculations.
|A wonderfully vague claim that manages to sound positive without saying anything. Nothing to see here people, move along.|
|Unified Video Decoder 2
Unified Video Decoder 2 frees up your CPU for other tasks so you get The Ultimate Visual Experience™ for even the most processing-intensive content, including VC-1, H.264 and now MPEG-2. Also, take full advantage of Blu-ray functionality with dual-stream, picture in picture (PIP) capabilities.
|An on-GPU decoding unit makes watching HD video much more pleasant, as it takes the decoding work off of the CPU, freeing it up for other tasks. Support for VC-1, H.264 and MPEG-2 mean that it will decode DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies without significant help from the CPU.|
|Upscale Beyond 1080p
Watch the hottest Blu-ray movies or other HD content at full 1080p display resolution and beyond.
|Nice to see that it supports 1080p content, though upscaling beyond 1920×1080 is unnecessary unless you’ve forked over the $$$$ required for a 30″ monitor.|
On-chip HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) makes life easier by allowing you to playback HDCP protected content.
|Though the idea of protecting content from the people you’re selling it to is patently silly, HDCP support is required for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD playback though, so it’s good to see it here.|
Enjoy the latest audio technologies using HDMI with 7.1 digital surround sound support. Also, xvYCC support allows the user to enjoy a wider range of color when connected to a capable HDTV.
|HDMI output is nice for those who like to game on HDTV displays. xvYCC colorspace support means that doing so won’t degrade image quality any.|
|ATI PowerPlay™ Technology
ATI PowerPlay™ Technology delivers high performance when needed and conserves power when the demand on the graphics processor is low.
|Dynamic voltage scaling has been standard on CPUs for a while now, it’s nice to see GPU manufacturers following suit.|
|Energy Efficient Manufacturing Process
Second generation 55nm chip uses the industry’s most energy efficient manufacturing process.
|Using less energy in the manufacturing process is nice for generating warm fuzzy feelings about the environment, though it rarely translates into any cost-savings for the end user.|
Now let’s take a look at the specifications, so we can see the raw capacity this card has to work with:
|process (Die size)||0,055 µ|
|transistor count||956 Mio|
|Memory frequency (eff.)||900|
|Unified shader pipelines||640|
|Memory Bus (bit)||256|
|data bus||PCI Express x16|
|peak memory bandwidth (GB/sec)||57.60|
|standard slot solution||Dual|
|external power need||yes, 6pin|
|Pixel Shader version||4.1|
|Memory Optimization||Hyper Z HD|
|Full Screen Anti-Aliasing||Smoothvision HD + Adaptive AA|
|16-bit integer or floating point|
|Adaptive De-Interlace||Video Shader HD|
|Video acceleration||MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264|
|HDMI compliance /
|HDMI 1.3 /
|HDMI modes (over DVI)||480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p|
|native display support||10-bit|
|3D Graphics Resolution||2560×1600|
|TV Out resolution||1024×768