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ATI Technologies said announcing its RADEON 9800 and 9600-series graphics processors earlier this month that it would start to sell the newcomers in March. Today is the 27th, the month is about to end, but we still have not seen any RADEON 9800 or RADEON 9600-based graphics cards in retail.

Our sources with knowledge of the matter indicated that the RADEON 9800 and 9800 PRO will only be available widely in the second week of April, later than it was originally set by ATI Technologies. The mainstream RADEON 9600-series is reportedly to be delayed more seriously - its massive availability is expected in late May and maybe even later. Although the VPU itself was taped out long ago, there are still some obstacles that prevent the RADEON 9600 from beginning ATI’s expansion on the mainstream market. It is possible that the RADEON 9600-series will appear in some stores in early May or even in April, nevertheless, sources said that single graphics cards in single stores do not necessary mean wide-availability.

RADEON 9600 and 9600 PRO graphics processors are based on the improved R300 architecture, manufactured using 0.13 micron technology, support DirectX 9.0 features and implement 4 rendering pipelines. The RADEON 9600 PRO works at 400/600MHz for core and DDR SDRAM memory, while the non-PRO solution boasts with 325/400MHz core and memory frequencies. Pricing information is still not available.

RADEON 9600-series delay explains why ATI wants to keep its RADEON 9700 and presumably RADEON 9500-series afloat this quarter.

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