Bad for reviewers, great for gamers ... AMD will allow non-reference Tahiti graphics cards
Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2011 - 12:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, pitcairn, overclock, HD7000, amd
One quickly forgets about the initially released reference GPUs once the cards with custom coolers, capacitors and PCBs arrive on the market all cool and factory overclocked. Usually the original GPU and card designer, in this case AMD, licenses theit top tier partners, like MSI , Gigabyte or Sapphire, to sell cards following a design that AMD provides along with the license to design and sell the cards. As SemiAccurate points out, this has lead to a market where the only unique feature they can add is usually armed and wearing a bikini. After the card has been on the market for a while, then AMD allows non-reference designs to appear for some cards from some manufacturers.
Not so with one of the four lineups of GPUs soon to arrive on the market, AMD will be freeing us from the tyranny of Ruby in different outfits and allow their partners to modify the Tahiti Pro cards from the get go. Expect to see a large difference in the appearance and specifications of AMD's new high end series of cards. That is the only one of the four to get this treatment, Tahiti, Pitcairn and Pitcairn XT cards will still come out only as copies of the reference card design. This may change over time but for now the idea of custom cooler, power distribution and PCB design is something to look forward to in the coming years.
"Back to the new news, and it concerns the Tahiti Pro card. Word has reached SemiAccurate that Tahiti Pro will be unconstrained to the normal reference designs. If you recall, most GPU manufacturers will force AIBs to make cards based on the reference design for the first 3 months or so, and there are a variety of very good business reasons to do this.
Unfortunately, it leads to a problem where the reviews all are the same, mainly because all the cards are the same. The main difference between manufacturers comes down to what color the AIB decides to put on the chrome bikini of the girl with the big sword riding the mythical beast just below their logo. We are partial to Hafnium bikini’s on women riding giant Were-moles around here. Luckily, Tahiti Pro changes this."
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