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Tue 18 May 2004 04:00 AM

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ATi comes back fighting

ATi has responded to the launch of nVidia’s GeForce 6800 graphics chipsets by unveiling what it claims is "the highest performing graphics architecture in the world."

ATi has responded to the recent launch of nVidia’s high-end GeForce 6800 graphics chipsets by unveiling its new Radeon X800 series.

"With the Radeon X800, the design team has accomplished something that no one thought was possible," said Rick Bergman, general manager, Desktop, ATI Technologies Inc. "Not only have they developed the highest performing and most efficient graphics architecture in the world, they have done so while maintaining high levels of stability, reliability and manufacturability."

ATi will initially offer graphics card manufacturers two chipsets based on its new Visual Processing Unit (VPU), namely the Radeon X800 Pro and the faster Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition.

ATi’s X800 Pro chipset is built using a 12-pipe architecture and runs at a speedy 475MHz with memory reaching 900MHz. The firm's quicker X800 XT model is built around a 16-pipe architecture and is clocked at 520MHz and 1.12GHz respectively. ATi claims the fastest version of the X800, the XT, can process over 8 billion pixels per second. Both versions of ATi’s X800 chipset will ship with 256MB of RAM.

The new X800 chips are based on ATi's newest processor core, named R420, whereas current models such as the firm’s 9800 series are based upon its older R200 technology. R420 models are now expected to begin slowly replacing R200 cores in ATi’s high-end chips, working their way down from the firm's high-end 9800 models over time.

Earlier this month ATi demonstrated the speed of its new Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition chipset at the Gartner’s System Builder Summit in Barcelona, Spain. The firm ran a range of graphically demanding games and industry-leading benchmark tests such as Futuremark’s 3DMark03 and 3DMark2001 exams. The X800 XT scored 15,738 in Futuremark’s 3DMark03, which according to ATi is a new world record, as was its 33,484 score in the less demanding 3DMark2001 test.

"Record scores in some of the world’s most visually advanced games at the highest image quality settings is proof that with ATI’s Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition, users no longer need to sacrifice speed to get impeccable image quality," said Peter Edinger, vice president, ATI Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Graphics cards featuring ATi’s new chipsets should begin to appear in the Middle East market over the next couple of months. A slower version of the Radeon X800, branded SE, may also see the light of day in the future.

In addition to launching its Radeon X800 family of chipsets, ATi recently announced a new mainboard graphics chipset in the form of its Radeon 9100 Pro IGP, which includes platform performance enhancements such as serial ATA, dual DDR400 memory channels, RAID and enhanced USB support.

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