Company: ATI Technologies
Authour: Rage3D
Date: June 27th, 2006
IRC Chat with Stanley Ossias
Rage3D: IRC Chat with ATI's Stanley Ossias, Radeon product manager. RAW IRC Chat Log

[+ATISO] Hi I'm stan Ossias. I'm a senior product manager in the desktop marketing team at ATI in Toronto.
[@Ratchet] hey Stan, welcome
[+ATISO] Nice to be on here with you.

Question: When was the last time you felt that you had a killer product in your hands? Was it the 9800 series, x850 series, x1800 series, x1900 series or any others?

Now. The entire Radeon X1k series is awesome. It rocks in every aspect from performance to visual quality and features. You name it.


Question: With AGP users still presenting a massive portion of the overall userbase and many of them equipped with powerful (even by today's standards) hardware such as 939 socket powered X2s, why has ATi decided not to bring their high-end X1900 series available for the AGP users as well?

A while back we introduced some high end AGP products that didn't sell as well as expected and we determined that the main interest in AGP was in the mainstream segment. That is pretty much our focus but we will continue to support AGP in the future and I think people will be please with the level of performance they will get with today's and tomorrow's AGP cards with ATI gpu's.


Question: Can us Apple users expect to see continued support from ATi when new Intel based Apple workstations are released, when more users "join the fray" and more games come available? Perhaps a high end X1900 or other top of the line card at the time?

We will continue to come out with interesting cards for the mac and we're excited about Apple's transition to intel. Mac users can expect to see cool things from ATI on that front, for sure.


question: How important is it to have "the fastest video card" on the market?

It's nice to be the fastest. We currently have the fastest GPU and it means a lot that its in the highest end products when that technology is the basis for the other products in our lineup. While we've got the fastest GPU available, we've got lots of amazing capabilities that shouldn't get overlooked because of the focus on benchmarks. There are some pretty fundamental visual quality advantages that we offer, such as better Aniso and AA quality, HDR+AA support and the like that are more meaningful than a couple of percentage points in benchmarks.


Question: What market does the x1300 512MB fit into?

The Radeon X1300 is an pretty amazing product. Basically for a pretty inexpensive price you can get a card that outperforms the venerable Radeon 9700 and supports all of the latest game technology like HDR. The nice thing about the Radeon X1300, in addition to the avivo capabilities for video and display quality, is that it supports a wide range of memory devices so that it scales from an extremely cost effective solution to one that has up to 512MB of memory, 128-bit memory interface and high clock speeds. It even supports Crossfire with no external cabling. The performance for an entry level solution is quite a good upgrade from integrated graphics. It also paves the way for WIndows Vista quite nicely.


Question: When people mod their radeonís, eg unlocking pipelines or over clocking, does it make your blood boil?

Not really. As long as people are willing to assume the risks of what they're doing its up to them to exploit the products to the utmost. We don't recommend taking chances that will void your warranty but if you're an enthusiast and know what you're doing, it's your product.


Question: Can you comment about the drop of pre-SM2 Radeons from Catalyst 6.6? Why not just keep the support and just not update it? Any plans for future drops?

We will continue to support pre-DX9 hardware with quarterly Catalyst postings. As the Pre-DX9 hardware is reaching the end of its life cycle we want as many SW engineers as possible working on newer and of course upcoming products


Question: There is a new trend towards dual core products lately and we even saw a solution from XGI that uses two graphics processors. In the past ATI used to have a product ATI Rage Fury MAXX with 2 processors. Do you think there's future for that?

We are obviously aware of lots of activity in this area but I can't really comment about future products.


Question: In the mainstream, what do you see as being more important; RAM, core clock speed, more pipelines, or something else?

Interesting question. From a performance perspective it differs a bit from product to product. From a customer perspective it often is more attractive to have a larger frame buffer even at the expense of performance, which is harder to measure. The architecture of our chips is designed to deliver great functionality for the games coming our today and this often emphasizes shader performance. Memory bandwidth is needed in good balance to the compute potential of a given chip. It is all important. Some games or applications benefit more from one thing or another but all of the attributes should scale together for the best overall solution.


Question: Please clarify about Catalyst and older chips: Will there be a completely separate set of drivers for them, or will normal Catalyst drivers every few months support them, but most won't?

It will be both (in the same package, and a separate driver download as well) - again this will happen only every 3 months


Question: With Catalyst Control Center coming under more and more fire from both users and the media, are there any plans to scrap the current project or create an alternative, more lightweight solution in addition to the existing CCC?

We're going to continue enhancing and improving CCC. There are definitely no plans to scrap anything. There's a development effort on .net 2.0 to increase performance and decrease its size which should improve things quite a bit.


Question: what is ATi doing to get developers to make games designed for ATi's hardware as opposed to nVIDIA's?

We have an ongoing engagement with ISV's to ensure that they take advantage of all of our goodness. We're committed to providing samples and assistance for the top tear and broad spectrum of games to leverage the potential of our hardware.


Question: With new cards we can clearly see huge increase in power demand of GPU and heat generated... Are there any plans with =< 80nm process to reduce this drastically, like we see with CPU market ?

We have considerable amounts of interest and effort going into this area. We're going to continue to see power as a major focus going forward.


Question: with Ati talking about physics done on a spare video card, are there any plans to integrate physics calculations onto gpu's in the future?

This a major area of interest in the market and at ATI. Our architecture in the Radeon X1k series is extremely good at doing the sorts of computation that physics presents. We believe we are many times faster than our competition in doing these sorts of calculations due to our fast dynamic branching. We are working with ISV's to take advantage of our shader execution capacity to enhance games. We think physics is going to be a big contributor to the quality of games in the future and we think that it is natural to take advantage of the compute potential of the GPU for this. The other great thing about physics is that is provides an additional opportunity to exploit Crossfire. A person can get a crossfire ready system with one or two graphics cards and get immediate gratification with performance today and then can benefit from physics capabilities when those enter the games in the future.


Question: Last but not least, who is going to win the World Cup?

That is of particular interest to me. I'm betting on Brazil.

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