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ATI's Multiple ASIC Technology: How It Works (Page 4/4)

Posted: April 11, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen

Multiple ASIC Technology

Developed in-house by ATI, they were going to make sure they wouldn't go through the same problems as 3dfx and Metabyte.

ATi has developed a unique method of rendering using multiple processors called AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering). This eliminated possibilities of unbalanced rendering loads and image differences. Double the performance and acute image quality? This had to be a success

Using Multiple ASIC Technology, it allowed each of the Rage 128 Pro chips to utilize its own internal triangle setup engine and texture caches on their independent frames. This offers better handling of fill rate intensive needs than a single chip solution could otherwise provide. Multiple ASIC Technology offers other unique benefits as well. These benefits include the ability for one engine to render ahead of the other concerning the odd or even image frames, as they're not linked together in the same ways that both SLI and PGC rendering techniques were. Multiple ASIC Technology lets an engine render ahead of the other engine. Having preemptive frames in the buffer theoretically allows greater than double performance gains.

Core and Memory Speeds

The early Aurora Rage Fury board tested had each of its Rage 128 Pro engines running at 125MHz core, while the memory speed was set to ~150MHz. This produces a maximum fill rate of about 500MPixels/second. Since its launch, ATI has tweaked the Furry MAXX with continual driver updates..

The single chip version of Aurora, which is basically an ATI Rage Fury Pro 32MB AGP card, operates out the box at 143MHz core speed with memory that operates at 155MHz.

If a dual-core Aurora card was set to run at the same speed (143MHz core x 2) we get an approximate fill rate of 572MPixels/second. This is virtually double that of a TNT2 Ultra's fill rate performance and is almost 100MPixels/second faster than GeForce 256. Since the single chip Aurora-type Rage Fury Pro runs at a higher speed in both core and memory frequencies, we can expect that the Rage Fury MAXX will be equal or higher in terms of clock rate.


ATI is an innovator of graphics technology and is currently readying its release of its next-gen card with its touted Charisma Engine primed to knock nVidia's GeForce and 3dfx's Voodoo5 right out of contention. Currently, its Multiple ASIC Technologies show promise. 3dfx's multiple chip Voodoo5 boards will be using 4-way SLI and it will be interesting to see how that performs. These days, companies are trying to cram more processing units into a board to achieve higher performance than actually building an entirely new architecture. But rest assured, newer, more exciting architectures are on their way. And we'll be priming you on ATI's Charisma engine shortly.

In a few more weeks, 3dfx will release its new Voodoo line. It will be interesting to see what the other graphics companies have up their sleeves...

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