Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Rage3D
Date: May 25th, 2006
IRC Chat with ATI's Prasad Sristi

Hello all, this is Prasad. I'm the X1600 product manager at ATI. It's great to be talking to you all.

Question: Are there any plans for improved profile handling for Crossfire?

Answer: CrossFire has a lot of flexibility - AFR, Scissor, Super Tiling, Super AA. With respect to improving the profile handling, yes - there will be forthcoming changes that I think you will like.


Question: why did ATI choose a 4 TMU/4 ROP design for RV530?

Answer: There's definitely a trend towards more shader intensive games in the market so we went for a higher ALU/pipe ratio to get more out of shader intensive games. So you actually get 12 shader processors with the X1600.


Question: Any idea of when the transition to 80nm and below will begin on ATI parts? Do you have any notion of which part will be the first to get the shrink?

Answer: Really can't comment on the future products but as you know, ATI has been on the cutting edge of the ASIC process technology.


Question: Are there any plans for a souped-up/higher-clocked versions of the X1600 than we've already seen?

Answer: Watch out for over clocked versions from our partners. There are already PRO overclocked versions widely available and XT overclocked versions starting to appear.


Question: how has ATI been working with game developers to leverage the 3:1 ALU:pixel ratio of X1600/x1900 products?

Answer: We have a strong ISV team who works closely with the game developers. We give them advanced prototypes for coding games much before the product hits the market so they can use it for coding and test driving. Also, independantly, you've seen the work we've done with Oblivion and the "Chuck" patch. We'll continue to give gamers the best possible experience. The X1600 is an excellent card for Oblivion.


Question: The shaders that could be applied to any game (Porthole, invert, find edges, ect) from the Control center which was added a while back has not been updated, any chance for that in the near future?

Answer: As of Cat 6.4, we've actually removed this feature. As we constantly try to enhance the user experience, some features get removed as new ones are added. You can consider this one to be sacrificed for upcoming enhancements. Sorry that you liked this feature :)


Question: One of the X1600's key features is fetch4 (that is also shared with the x1900). Could you tell us how many developers are implementing it in code and maybe some of the more popular titles coming out with it.

Answer: Sorry, can't field this one. How about I get back to you later with the titles?


Question: why is the X1600 line limited to 720p H.264 decoding? Is it not capable of decoding 1080i/1080p because of performance, or was this decision made to seperate the "mid-range" X1600 line from the "high-end" X1800/X1900 line?

Answer: The X1600 can actually do 1080i/1080p H.264 decoding.


Question: The X1600XT has become harder to find, has it been removed from the current lineup?

Answer: Not at all. In fact I'll give you a Sapphire card. The X1600 XT is quite popular, especially because of the cable free CrossFire support with all cards.


Question: Do you believe the X1600 is too forward thinking in design as it has quite a few PS processors but fairly few ROPs making last generations games kinda of slow in relation to other mainstream cards. Would you have added more ROPs if you had to do it again ?

Answer: The trick is to find the right balance between performance and price. Right now you get the best bang for the buck with the X1600 because of it's current architecture. Adding more ROPs would make it another product at another price point - and you know, I can't comment on future products :)


Question: How do you feel the X1600 compares/lines-up to the 7600 series?

Answer: Gaming wise, the X1600 XT gives about 30% more performance than the 7600 GS in popular games such as HL2, FEAR, Far Cry Doom 3, COD2. Video wise, the X1600 rocks. There was a test done on DVD quality that compared the X1600 with $2000 DVD players and the latest GeForce line-up. The X1600 came up on top and the nearest competition wasn't even close.


Question: Is it possible to run X1600 Crossfire without the dongle on RADEON Xpress 200 motherboards?

Answer: Definitely.


Question: can you comment upon rumors of multi-chip RV530 cards?

Answer: Can't comment on rumours :)


Question: why hasn't ATI released an X1xxx card with HDCP output yet?

Answer: Sapphire, GeCube, PowerColor have recently announced X1600 HDMI cards with HDCP. We leave the individual feature implementations to our partners so they can come up with the right feature set at the right time in the right market. I'm sure you will see more HDCP capable cards appear in the future.


Question: nVidia has talked about SLI physics, Ageia has released their PhysX card, ATI has stayed quiet on this front since the launch of the x1000 series. Is there anything in the works for ATI card GPU based physics?

Answer: ATI's approach of more shader intensive architecture actually places us in a better position for doing general purpose calculations. We did a physics demo with the X1800 last October. AT GDC in March 2006, we talked about how ATI architecture is well suited for heavy math operations used in physics. With regards to future plans, I can't comment specifically.


Question: Why have you forsaken AGP? I'm not as upset about it as I was before, but only because I put a PCIe mobo in last night...

Answer: Forsaken AGP? Not at all. The X1600 PRO AGP kicks ass and is very popular. Congrats on the new PCIe motherboard. Hopefully you are all set for CrossFire now.


Question: Why does the X1600Pro lack tempature reporting in CCC but 3rd party software can read the sensors?

Answer: I'm not sure why. Let me check and see if we can include this feature in a later release.


Question: Will the x1600 be fully compatable with DX10?

Answer: If you are asking whether X1600 will work in Vista, then yes it will continue to kick ass.


Question: Why did you choose to use DDR2 on the X1600Pro instead of cooler and more efficient DDR3?

Answer: Price point but there's no limitation. The PRO chip supports both DDR2 and GDDR3. Our partners can choose to use GDDR3 on X1600 PRO. There are already GDDR3 SKUs available in the market.


Question: will the x1600 be able to handle all the unified shader requirements for dx10?

Answer: Unified shader technology is an excellent way to get the most out of DX10 but the X1600 product specifically is a DX9 product.


Question: How did you become the lead of the x1600 team? How does it feel to make microchips for a living?

Answer: By doing a lot of gaming! But seriously, it's great to be a part of the X1600 team at ATI and be on the cutting edge of the graphics technology.


Question: Is the Rialto bridge chip a limiting factor in producing higher performance agp parts?

Answer: Not at all. The Rialto bridge chip is designed to get the max bandwidth out of the AGP bus.

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