R400 reshuffling due to Xbox 2 contract?

Discussion in 'Pre-release GPU Speculation' started by MuFu, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. MuFu

    MuFu Chief Spastic Baboon
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    It occured to me a couple of days ago that one of the main reasons why R400 was delayed and then subsequently canned might have had something to do with the Xbox 2 contract. I can't believe they found the technology totally unworkable for this product generation.

    Say they put it off... the tech carried forward into R500 and based on preliminary R500 drafts a proposal was made to M$. Then they pushed forward with the co-development of desktop and console solutions (this would tally with bringing in the Marlborough team) while a powerful, current gen part (Loki) was drafted as a stop-gap.

    Supporting this idea is the fact that the R&D run for Xbox 2 will be relatively short, so if ATi had something partway through development already then that would have worked in their favour. Everything regarding R400 has been kept extremely hush-hush, again perhaps suggesting a possible involvement with the contract. Also... remember all the R400 talk around the time of the R300 launch? It almost seemed as if they were more excited about it than the product being released at the time! Seems strange that they would apparently disregard such tremendous potential, unless of course it has been promoted to serve this "higher purpose".

    Just idle speculation, but I haven't seen anybody mention this before.

    MuFu.

    Edit - sp.
     
  2. Dave Baumann

    Dave Baumann Gamerscore Wh...
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    "It occured to me" :?: :wink:
     
  3. MuFu

    MuFu Chief Spastic Baboon
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    You know I am capable of *some* completely independent thought, Dave. :lol:

    MuFu.
     
  4. lar2r

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    I thought the pullback was because there is no need for PS/VS 3.0 yet.

    Heck I am still waiting for PS2.0 to show up in games.

    As for Xbox 2, are you sure ATI has won that deal? You'd think the stock would be moving up.

    -
     
  5. K.I.L.E.R

    K.I.L.E.R Retarded moron
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    Ati's stock is like glue. It sticks to a value and then starts to wear out over the years. :lol:
     
  6. MuFu

    MuFu Chief Spastic Baboon
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    I think we'll see PS/VS 3.0 in Loki/R420.

    MuFu.
     
  7. RussSchultz

    RussSchultz Professional Malcontent
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    Has it officially become Loki and not Loci?
     
  8. rubank

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    If it´s supposed to be in reference to the norse god, then it´s Loki with a K
    (Loke in Scandinavia).
     
  9. MuFu

    MuFu Chief Spastic Baboon
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    Yes.

    MuFu.
     
  10. 3dcgi

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    Another option is maybe the performance of the original R400 was meeting the design goals. Other than this I think the Microsoft idea is the most likely reason. I don't believe it's because a more flexible architecture isn't needed yet. That just sounds like marketing BS.
     
  11. Dave Baumann

    Dave Baumann Gamerscore Wh...
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    The real point here is one factor: the introduction of DX10.

    Without DX10's availability until 2004/5 this leaves an element of flexibility in terms of specifications. It's quite possible that it just isn't worth a significantly new architecture later this year (at least, not in the same order of magnitude of R200 to R300) without a major API overhaul. The fact that DX9 looks to stay for at least another year may enable ATI to view this as a potential window of opportunity.

    NV3x's issues are not just quoted as being down to the 130nm process but also a diversion of resources from the desktop development to the Xbox project - ATI's engineering must already be under some strain with desktop, chipset, set-top, mobile, palm parts as well as a new Nintendo development (in fact we know they are taking extreme measures already with the "physical" reuse). If you were to add an Xbox deal on top of that its would be hard not to see some impact on other projects.

    Its likely that ATI know this all to well, but are aiming to minimise the impact on key deliverables, the biggest one being DX10 and Longhorn in the PC space - whatever happens between now and those is really just an interim measure and not a significant milestone (plus, R3x0 already has a lot of sway with OEM's so any competitors chips are going to have to be very good to convince those OEM's that have gone back to ATI to switch again). Given this, is a major architectural overhaul really that necessary? Probably not.

    Its quite possible that ATI have already shuffled their development plans such they take that engineering hit now, during the interim period, as opposed to later when key deliverables are required. Rather than having a totally new architecture now, produce an evolved R300 based architecture (possibly adding PS/VS3.0 support) and then move you new architecture back, bumping features to DX10 and performance, and introduce a desktop variant and an Xbox variant as well.
     
  12. Doomtrooper

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    ATI does have alot more reources in terms of people to work multiple projects though, but Sony has got both ATI and Nvidia leary of the challenges of the PS 3 chip.


    There was also a Spong update:

    http://spong.com/index.asp?art=5098
     
  13. Evildeus

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    Well, it seems that 2006 according to the CEO of M$, is the time set for the XBOX2 Launch. If that so, what are the consequencies on Ati? More diffuse scheddule between each new generation?
     
  14. R300King!

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  15. antlers

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    It seems like it will be much more difficult for the XBox 2 to be backwards compatible if they switch GPU vendors. The XBox API isn't regular DirectX--I think it touches the hardware more directly. NVidia also supplies the sound chip and bridge. I don't know what kind of sound IP ATI has. If the XBox 2 isn't backwards compatible Microsoft is making a huge mistake. Maybe the XBox 2 will have both ATI and NVidia chips?

    I think they canceled the R400 because the R300 was so damn good and could be made even better with process improvements--the R400 wouldn't have been a performance jump and the features weren't needed yet.
     
  16. MuFu

    MuFu Chief Spastic Baboon
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    Well I still think that, along with what Dave says above is the most likely contributing factor.

    No idea about the audio part but it's M$ - I suspect they'll figure something out, even if it means pissing people off. :)

    MuFu.
     
  17. Dave Baumann

    Dave Baumann Gamerscore Wh...
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    In NV's conference call tonight it was said the XB2 would be backwards compatible regardless of whether NV was used or not.
     
  18. High 5-HIAA

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    Wow! That certainly makes things more interesting.

    I am also interested in what would take the place of the APU for sound chores in the XBox Next. It seems to me like MS would wish to keep the Dolby Digital ENcoding functions, which would be required for full backwards compatibility purposes. It's possible this could be done by the CPU of the XBoxNxt, but I would suspect not.

    Perhaps an ATI Graphics core integrated into an Nvidia "chipset"? ;)
     
  19. Dave Baumann

    Dave Baumann Gamerscore Wh...
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    I doubt the implementation of Dolby encode would be particularily difficult since I would suspect that this is an "off the shelf" design offered by Dolby to anyone who is willing to stump up for a license.
     
  20. AzBat

    AzBat Agent of the Bat
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    Great catch Dave. Does ease the mind a little. Though it does make you wonder if they will be able to pull it off. I'm not so concerned about the non-graphics compatibility. I guess we'll find out when we find out. ;)

    Tommy McClain
     
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