Less than top notch performance in the 3D gaming arena is what caused many gaming enthusiasts to shy away from ATi. Though ATi had the potential for becoming the 3D market leader, delays plagued the path of the Rage 128 chip on the way to market shelves. And in this industry, time is as valuable as money. So rather than being recognized as a leader in the graphics industry, OEM sales for low priced PC's and laptop's were their bread and butter.
Video Cards >
ATI Rage Fury MAXX
AFR, SLI, huh?
multiple processors to achieve a significant performance boost isn't exactly a
new concept. This idea is exploited in high end servers and workstations and the
same principle can be used with graphics cards as well. In order to get two
similar chips working together towards the goal of higher performance, the
workload between the chips must be efficiently shared and processed between
them. Graphic chipset makers are certainly aware that adding a second chip is
far from a cakewalk. Simply adding another processor to the board just isn't
enough. Tuning and optimizing the respective load sharing algorithms is as
important as the hardware itself. Inefficient algorithms can literally mean the
death of a product.
3dfx started this trend of doubling
potential graphics performance with their Voodoo 2 line of cards. By purchasing
a Voodoo2 product, the end user was given an option to upgrade their current
graphics sub system by simply purchasing another Voodoo2 card (same card by the
same company) thus preserving the value of the initial expenditure on the first
Voodoo2 card. The method used with 2 Voodoo2 boards was known as SLI, or Scan Line
Simply put, when 2 boards are under SLI, one chip will take
care of the even numbered scan lines while the other board will simultaneously
tackle the odd numbered scan lines. So in effect, we have both processors
working on the same frame at the same time. According to ATi, SLI proves to be
inefficient as each processor must perform the triangle setup for each frame,
which is redundant.
With the idea born under the Aurora label, Alternate
Frame Rendering technology divides the load between the two chips
frame wise instead of having both chips working on the same frame.
One chip will process the current frame while the second chip will render the
following frame, and so on... This technology did stir up some controversy
regarding "lag" issues considering the nature of the the rendering process with
its two Rage 128 Pro chips.
The rumors centered around the claim that since each Rage 128 Pro chip
on the Fury MAXX takes almost twice as long to draw a frame as a GeForce does
(although the overall frame rate is the same or higher for the Fury MAXX because
it has two chips working together), that there would be a noticeable delay
between the time the computer receives input from the user and the time the
resulting movement is displayed on the screen." Till date,
no one has been able to substantiate these claims of "lag"... AFR has seen its
birth in the Rage Fury MAXX and we will continue to see this technology in
upcoming ATi MAXX based boards as well,
which of course, is a good thing...