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5. ATI Demonstrates “The Future” DirectX 11 Graphics Cards at Quakecon

Various demonstrations of the forthcoming DirectX 11-capable hardware were very important events for ATI, graphics business unit of AMD, this summer. The two most important one were even public: the showcase at Computex Taipei and the demo in a “secret” room at Quakecon, two large tradeshows with loads of journalists, computer enthusiasts, gamers and business partners.

“Area64 will be exclusive access only, meaning, you can try to find it, but its hidden and being kept secret. AMD will be showcasing what we lovingly refer to as ‘The Future’,” said Ian McNaughton, a senior manager of advanced marketing at AMD, in a corporate public blog just a little more than a month before ATI/AMD initiated to sell ATI Radeon HD 5800-series graphics cards to the end-users.

ATI Radeon HD 5870, front side

ATI’s sneak peak’s on DirectX 11-compliant hardware were very strategically placed in Asia, where the vast majority of graphics cards manufacturers are located, and the U.S., where there are loads of socially active gamers and press, which will quickly spread the news about the never-before-seen and ultimately-powerful-and-feature-rich hardware to the masses.

ATI Radeon HD 5870, back side

The launch of ATI Radeon HD 5800-series also demonstrated another thing: just like in case of the Radeon HD 4800 launch, nobody knew exactly what the Radeon HD 5800 is. This allowed the company to balance its designs, prices and performance exactly in accordance with market realities.

ATI still has a lot of work to do with its DirectX 11 lineup and those are pretty tough challenges. There is a tremendous performance and price gap between ATI Radeon HD 5770 and HD 5850 models. As a consequence, the company has to sell the previous-generation ATI Radeon HD 4870/4890 graphics boards to close the gap and has to compete against Nvidia, which, unlike ATI is promoting its GeForce GTS 260/275 as ultimate solutions for gamers. In addition, ATI has to constantly ensure that the yields of its 40nm DX11 chips at TSMC are high enough to meet demand for the next-generation hardware.

The long story short, thanks to sneak demos of DirectX 11 graphics cards and delivery of actual hardware in accordance with general expectations, AMD managed to further increase interest towards ATI Radeon in general and ATI Radeon HD 5000-series in particular. Well done!

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