If you’re watching closely what’s happening in the market of graphics processors and technologies, you should have already become acquainted with the product marketing strategy of the Canadian-based ATI Technologies. They create a new graphics processor and first release several graphics cards based on this GPU for several sectors of the market.
Then they issue an independent GPU for each sector. This was the case with the R300 processor which was at first used in rather inexpensive RADEON 9500 and 9500 PRO cards as well as in high-performance RADEON 9700 and 9700 PRO.
Later, however, they began to use the 4-pipelined RV350/R360 chip for mainstream and the R350/360 chip for top-end solutions. Besides that, ATI is known to introduce various innovations in junior GPU models first to make sure that the innovation does bring a positive effect and to use it then in senior GPUs.
The last splitting of ATI’s line of graphics cards occurred at the announcement of the RADEON X850 GPU (R480). There was another announcement then – the introduction of the R430 chip which retained the official name of RADEON X800.
According to the company’s new plans, the RADEON X850 chip will be used in graphics cards of ultra high-end and high-end classes, while the performance-mainstream niche (where products are priced from $200 to $350) will get the new RADEON X800 (the RADEON X700 series moving down to the low-end sector).