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Sharky Extreme : News From Inside The Industry November 8, 2007


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    May 4, 2004

    No one can deny that ATI Technologies' Radeon 9800 XT is a phenomenally powerful 3D graphics card. But ATI says the 9800 engine is merely half as fast as its new Radeon X800 (formerly codenamed R420) visual processor, debuting in two new ATI and a slew of third-party cards.

    The top-of-the-line Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition card, shipping later this month for $499, features a 16-pipeline pixel-processing engine clocked at 520MHz and paired with 1.12GHz GDDR-3 memory. The Radeon X800 Pro, now shipping for $399, uses 12 parallel pipelines clocked at 475MHz with 900MHz GDDR-3. Both have six programmable vertex shader pipelines and a 256-bit, quad-channel interface to 256MB of memory; today's AGP 8X cards will be joined by PCI Express models later, just as ATI's own will be joined by products from Abit, ASUS, Creative, Diamond, FIC, Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire, VisionTek, and others.

    While the Radeon X800 sticks with its predecessor's DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 2.0 and 24-bit floating-point precision, versus the Shader Model 3.0 and 32-bit math of nemesis Nvidia's new GeForce 6800 Ultra, ATI contends that it achieves unprecedented realism for high-resolution (or, to use the company's new catchphrase, high-definition) gaming, with new features for developers such as 3Dc compression technology that delivers more detailed characters and scenes while using less texture memory. The 160-million-transistor chip also boasts lower power consumption, thanks to an 0.13-micron low-k dielectric process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.: Both Radeon X800 cards fit into a single slot with a single power connector. The GeForce 6800 Ultra takes two of each and recommends a hefty 480-watt system power supply.

    Related Link: ATI


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