Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday introduced a sub-$100 ATI Radeon graphics card that supports DirectX 11, Microsoft's latest collection of Windows technology for handling multimedia tasks, especially games and video.
The ATI Radeon HD 5670 gives many owners of lower-priced mainstream desktops the option of boosting graphics performance without spending a lot of money. DirectX 11 ships with Windows 7, but can also be installed in Vista.
The release of the latest product follows by three months AMD's launch of the ATI Radeon HD 5700 series, which offered DirectX 11 support for mainstream PCs for between $100 and $200.
Sales of low-priced Windows PCs kept the consumer market afloat last year in the face of the economic recession. Systems, laptops, and desktops ranging from $300 to less than $800 were a major driver of the 2.3% growth in shipments last year from 2008, according to IDC. Rival Gartner reported a 5.2% growth rate.
AMD's latest graphics cards provide the horsepower needed to play mainstream video games. The Radeon HD 5670 includes AMD's ATI Eyefinity technology, which supports up to three displays, providing at least one has a DisplayPort connector.
AMD has shiped more than 2 million DirectX 11 graphics cards, according to the vendor. AMD also sells graphics cards, such as the Radeon HD 5970, for people looking for top performance on high-end gaming systems.
Pricing for the Radeon HD 5670 starts at $99 for 512 MB of GDDR5 memory. AMD's major rival is Nvidia, which makes the GeForce line.
Among the key features in DirectX 11 is tessellation technology that enables game developers to create smoother, less blocky, and more organic looking objects. Tessellation is a technique used to manage and divide data sets so they can be rendered by a graphics engine.
Other features include a "compute shader" that allows programmers to treat the GPU in a much less graphics-oriented way, and more like a highly parallel CPU, making programming easier. Finally, DirectX 11 is much more efficient at using the power of the multiple cores in today's CPUs.
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