Last week AMD introduced the ATI Radeon HD 3400 and 3600 series, which are the new low-end graphics processors compared to the Radeon HD 3800 series. These budget graphics cards are branded as the Radeon HD 3450, 3470, and 3650 and are all available for under $100 USD. While they may be cheap, they are the first graphics cards to introduce support for DisplayPort. DisplayPort is the newest digital display interface standard, backed by VESA, and is direct competition to HDMI. DisplayPort has yet to be fully supported by the available Linux display drivers, but the Catalyst Linux driver already supports these new ATI graphics cards and there will be open-source support through the RadeonHD driver in the coming days. At hand today we have the Sapphire Radeon HD 3650 512MB graphics card as we deliver the first Linux benchmarks for this RV635 GPU.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 3650 graphics card boasts 512MB of 128-bit GDDR3 video memory running at 1.6GHz, built on 55nm fabrication, 725MHz core clock, and contains 120 stream processors. The HD 3650 supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 2.0. Like the other graphics cards in the Radeon HD 3000 family, the RV635 is PCI Express 2.0 compliant and has other functionality common to the R600 series such as CrossFireX, ATI's Unified Video Decoder, and HDMI support with 5.1 surround sound audio. An addition to the Radeon HD 3650 that cannot be found on the Radeon HD 2600 series, which the RV635 replaces, is support for PowerPlay. PowerPlay is supported by the binary Linux driver (and is expected in the future for xf86-video-radeonhd) for adjusting the core/memory frequencies and voltages in order to conserve power and reduce the heat-output when the graphics card doesn't need to be fully utilized.
This budget graphics card from Sapphire had arrived in a small cardboard box that had contained a couple of accessories that were secluded from the PCI-E graphics card itself. These accessories had consisted of a component video output adapter, composite video adapter, one VGA to DVI dongle, DVI to HDMI audio/video adapter, Sapphire driver CD, Sapphire case badge, and a quick installation guide. For being a graphics card retailing for ~$100 USD or less, the packaging and included accessories were fine by our standards.