|With AMD to launch its Radeon HD 3870 X2 graphics card featuring dual RV670 GPUs on the 23 of this month, and Nvidia is also planning to launch the GeForce 9800 GX2 on February 14 which will be include two G92 GPUs, it looks as though 2008 will become the year of dual GPU cards, at least for the high-end market.
In the past, GPU makers would normally design for the highest-end GPU first and then reduce chip speeds and functions to create a product range targeting the different market segments. However, with high-end chip design taking longer, while at the same time graphics card product-cycles have got shorter, AMD and Nvidia will both change their strategy, and now use their respective CrossFireX and SLI technologies to help prolong the life of their chips, detailed the sources.
GeForce 9800 GX2 cards will have a total of 256 stream processors and adopt a double PCB design. The two GPUs will share the same PCI Express port by using Nvidia's BR05 chip; a similar design solution to that employed in AMD's Radeon HD 3870 X2. The performance will be 1.3-1.5 times faster than that of a single GeForce 8800 Ultra card, noted the sources.
The GeForce 9800 GX2 will keep SLI support for quad GPU configurations. Pricing will be set at US$449.
However, due to the low market acceptance of dual GPU graphics cards, the makers are currently still conservative over the two upcoming dual GPU products. Most makers will only order in small volumes and will not order any more after they have sold out, according to the sources.
We should begin seeing full reviews of these cards in the next week or two. Look for them in the Desktop Reviews section.