ATI’s upcoming RV560 and RV570 will find its way into single-board, dual-GPU CrossFire configurations. Since the GPU cores have integrated composite engines, the cards are capable of Crossfire support directly on the card.
HIS X1600 Gemini Courtesy of HKEPC
ATI is recommending to its AIB partners that the new 80nm mainstream and value parts will be joined together on a single PCB with a PLX Technology ExpressLane PEX 8532 PCI Express bridge chip. This bridge chip is currently used on ATI Gemini graphics cards such as the GeCube dual X1600 graphics card. The bridge chip itself is nearly the same size as the GPU but only draws approximately 7.38 watts. Preliminary boards show the PEX 8532 heatsink-less which isn’t surprising considering its low power draw. On Gemini graphics boards the PEX 8532 bridge chip (PDF) takes one PCI Express x16 interface and divides the bandwidth in half. This allocates eight PCI Express lanes to each GPU similar to how some motherboards divide sixteen PCI Express lanes across two slots on Intel, lower end SLI and CrossFire motherboards. As the PEX 8532 is a generic PCI Express switch it can be used for other implementations besides graphics switching also. DailyTech has learned Hightech Information Systems (HIS) has dual RV570 products in the pipeline using the PEX 8352 bridge chip. Although RV570 won’t necessarily offer as much horsepower as a Radeon X1900XT, Gemini variants will be able to dedicate one RV570 GPU to physics processing; essentially one GPU can be used for graphics while the second can be used for physics or graphics. Additionally, up to four DVI outputs can be used per card with the help of twin DMS59 interfaces. ATI’s 80nm RV560 and RV570 are expected to arrive in August and September.