The latest information released from Canada regarding ATIs monstrous R520 board, also known as Fudo, mentions the magic 'pipeline' word, a key element of the battle for graphical supremacy last year. Many might remember how the number 16 seemed to be the holy grail of both manufacturers and how stunned we all were that the companies involved could produce such monstrous boards carrying so many transistors and not be responsible for the melting of the polar ice caps.
Well this time ATI claims that its new range of boards will carry in excess of 300 million transistors meaning that, at least in theory, it will be able to feature 32 pipelines. It's time for gamer jaws to drop again as this will mean that the boards will feature twice as many pipelines as their predecessors. The current line of thinking at ATI is to have all boards with 32 pipelines but to restrict the first few versions to 24 functioning ones and to gradually introduce the full 32 enabled versions when market conditions and competitor products demand them.
ATI is rather keen to begin making its presence felt on the Top 20 3DMark hall of fame, as the recent failed attempt in Texas clearly demonstrated. The R520 could be the card to bring that success to ATI since it should be capable of performing at least twice as fast as the X850 meaning it should outperform even current SLI setups.
If ATI also manages to introduce its dual-GPU configuration this summer as expected, the resulting performance should run away with the 3DMark crown. I will leave you with the thought of two 32 pixel pipeline R520s running in tandem a game of your choice, how's that for starters?
The picture card is the Crucial RADEON X850XT 256MB PCI Express card and not the R520.