Now this is interesting. From a CeBIT press conference comes word that AMD has cooked up some streamlined HD audio technology with its next-generation ATI graphics cards. Details are slim, but what the graphic over at Beyond3D.com suggests is that if you have a motherboard with an HD audio chip on it, AMD's forthcoming ATI RV6XX graphics cards will be able to grab that signal and spit it out through its own HDMI port, with no cable or other internal fiddling like you need to do with current HDMI-equipped cards, including Nvidia's 8800 series. That means fewer wires inside and outside your PC and potentially a much easier time connecting an RV6XX-based desktop to an HDMI-equipped TV.
Based on the image (and as Beyond3D backs up with its own comments about the unshown next slide in the presentation), it looks like this feature will remain exclusive to the mid- and low-end cards in the new ATI lineup, expected this May. The high-end model, labeled simply "R600" (no "V"), isn't listed. We hope that AMD will find a way to make it happen, especially as a way to help offset that card's likely high price tag. We also wouldn't be surprised if not even every one of the RV cards gets an HDMI output. In the past, both ATI and Nvidia graphics cards have come out with multiple versions of the same card, each with a different combination of video outputs.