In the light of next week's supercomputing conference in Reno, AMD has announced its next generation GPGPU card: the FireStream 9170 graphics processor. The new card, tailored for high performance scientific and engineering calculations, will provide 500 Gigaflops of throughput from a 55nm process technology.

The new card is reportedly based on the RV670 GPU chip, which is expected to appear in Radeon HD 3800 cards later this month. It features double-precision floating point technology, 2GB of GDDR3 RAM, and will consume around 150W of power.

FireStream is AMD's answer to a similar initiative launched by Nvidia earlier this year to find broader uses for increasingly powerful graphics chips. In order for developers to take advantage of FireStream's architecture, AMD will release a software development kit, giving them to access key APIs and specifications that will enable performance tuning at the lowest level and development of third party tools. The FireStream 9170 is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2008, priced at $1,999.