ATI Radeon R600

R600 Technical Aspects 3

HD - the buzzword

Nowadays it's all about High Definition and getting the very best image from your hardware as possible. ATI have upgraded the HD performance of their latest cards and now HDCP over two monitors is supported (something 8800 series don't do). As mentioned before an HDMI converter is included with the 2900 XT and ATI have gone with HDMI version 1.2, not including Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD Master or Dolby TrueHD. However if your an HTPC enthusiast you are going to have a decent discrete APU (sound card to you and me - Ed) for your audio so I see the 5.1 sound card as a pretty neat if not slightly useless addition to the 2X00 series.


The new AMD theater 200 chip gives the R600 cards a great boost. Not only does it support 5.1 sound (stereo in previous versions) but it is also a UVD (Universal Video Decoder) & a AVP (Advanced Video Processor).
UVD provides direct hardware decoding of HD-DVD & Blue-ray standards. It also provides extra features for better picture quality when watching videos. These features are frequency transform, pixel prediction and deblocking, bitstream processing/entropy decode.

Because the video and sound are not seperated the card conforms to the protected content output path, which also makes it compliant with Windows Vista Premium Logo requirements.
The audio controller supports formats of 32kHz, 44.1kHz and 48kHz 16-bit PCM stereo & also supports AC3 compressed multi-channel audio (allowing Dolby Digital & DTS).

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)1
    • Each includes a dual-link HDCP encoder with on-chip key storage for high resolution playback of protected content2
  • Two integrated 400 MHz 30-bit RAMDACs
    • Each supports analog displays connected by VGA at all resolutions up to 2048x15363
  • HDMI output support
    • Supports all display resolutions up to 1920x10801
    • Integrated HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support, enabling a plug-and-play cable-less audio solution
  • Integrated AMD Xilleon™ HDTV encoder
    • Provides high quality analog TV output (component/S-video/composite)
    • Supports SDTV and HDTV resolutions
    • Underscan and overscan compensation
  • HD decode acceleration 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

ATI have added a Universal Video Decoder to r600 that handles the entire decode process, offloading the decode from the CPU onto the GPU. As we have discussed in earlier articles the power of the GPU is only now coming to the fore and hardware manufacturers are realising it's potential. ATI enhances what is already out there by getting r600 to do it all:

r600 decoding

r600 decode 1 r600 decode comparison

ATI have stepped up in this department and it will be interesting to see how this measures up against G80 in real terms. Certainly this is a step up from ATI and good to see that decoding and playing HD is easier for everyone.


In conclusion AMD/ATI have implemented a very clean and well-rounded DX10 card - and we think it's about time too. The review of the 2900 XT is on it's way soon but already we can see that the 2X00 series are a good competitior for the 8800GTS cards. The only thing that I am a little disappointed about is that they haven't come out all guns blazing with a card that blows nVidia out of the water - but hopefully that's to come.

The High-Defition aspects of the 2X00 series are excellent and as we progress we will see more computers moving into the living room. AMD have made it clear with 690G that this is their intention and it's great to see the top-end following this through too.

Would I buy'll have to wait for the full review...

Discuss in our Forums

Additional Links

Bit-Tech have an awesome write-up of r600 and it's architecture so have a good read if you're interested.
techPowerUp! have a nice read too
AMD/ATI have lots of info on their site
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Most Recent Comments

15-05-2007, 13:36:20

Well you have the Apogee (very soon we hope) so I would go for a Laing D5 (reliability and flow), though some would say different :D

As it's your GPU too you want a PA 120.3 for a RAD, but your case is tiny so perhaps you could fit a 120.2 to the back of your case

GPU = MCW60 - would fit most newer cards too so you have options

For the res I reckon those tube res look very cool and you may just be able to squeeze one in. If not then Alphacool do a sweet mini-res :)

Tubing is your choice but myself I prefer 1/2" :D

wowo just saw hams post - bargain of the week!

15-05-2007, 14:04:43

Just measured up and there is no way I could fit a 24mm in the top of my case, only other solutions are a 24mm on the back or a 36mm on the top.

15-05-2007, 14:59:00

Ok this is what I have come up with so far, I am planning on mounting a 240mm rad on the back of my case and having a 120mm rad my free cd bays.

So I would need the following:

Not sure on a pump yet and if I should have a reservoir.

Comments welcome.

15-05-2007, 15:01:30

I second the MCW60 for GPU, very good block.

Also I wouldn't bother w/cing the NB.

You'll need a reservoir, I like the XPSC ones which fit in the 5.25" drive bays, have a blue LED as well.

15-05-2007, 18:08:52

For a res i recomend the alphacool cape coolex 25, check my rig gallery for pics.
It looks nice and hold a fair bit of liquid and i have it mounted on the roof of my case. :D
Theres my input for what its worth. lol.

15-05-2007, 18:25:39

It looks like something that women would play with :eek:

I am just looking for something small to sit inside my case ;)

15-05-2007, 18:31:43

Micro rez?

15-05-2007, 21:38:03

Swiftech MCres micro :)
BTW Kempez, Laing reports that 4.3% of DDCs are breaking. 4.3 is high statistically but chances are, if you buy a DDC you will be fine. D5s break as well, just a week ago on XS someone's D5 broke :) and the majority of people there use DDC. The only pumps I would call reliable are iwaki and panworld, and even then, they still have a chance of breaking. IanY, a crazy guy on XS, says "don't trust the pump" and sticks like 7 pumps into his computer...
Oh and try to get a thermochill if you can, they're most effective. A thermochill PA120.2 keeps water temps at almost the same temps as an MCR320 or Coolrad 32t, BUT has almost 1/2 the restriction. And of course, PA120.3 mops the floor.

15-05-2007, 21:45:23

GoldenTiger is what I'm looking at personally, I'm using an X-Qpack which is a small-form-factor... I modded it to use normal ATX boards, so while space is tight, I think I can fit it mostly inside :eek:, I think it's about as small as you'll get for a well-performing kit.

16-05-2007, 19:32:23

serialk11r is what I'm looking at personally, I'm using an X-Qpack which is a small-form-factor... I modded it to use normal ATX boards, so while space is tight, I think I can fit it mostly inside :eek:, I think it's about as small as you'll get for a well-performing kit.

That will not bring you good performance no matter how much you wish it will or how much you want to think it will. The radiator is simply too small.

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