This Spring ATI Technologies started to phase out good-old R300-based RADEON 9700 and RADEON 9500-series with new R350- and RV350-based families of graphics cards known as RADEON 9800 and RADEON 9600. Apparently, the company decided to add a mysterious RADEON 9800 SE product in its Summer lineup.
Currently ATI Technologies and its add-in-board partners offer variety of RADEON 9600 and RADEON 9800 graphics cards for different requirements and market segments. Take a look at what we can get from ATI and now, note that the prices are either recommended or estimated:
RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB: $499;
RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB: $399;
RADEON 9800 128MB: $299;
RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB: $199;
RADEON 9600 PRO LE 128MB: $169;
RADEON 9600 128MB: $149;
RADEON 9200 PRO: <$100;
RADEON 9200: <$90;
As you see, ATI tries to fill the price gap between $100 and $200 with various graphics cards powered by the RADEON 9600 technology. We have already seen some overclocked graphics cards based on the RADEON 9600 PRO VPU (see this news-story) as well as graphics cards with reduced speeds (see this news-story). This all is probably done in order to successfully compete against the GeForce FX 5600 and 5600 Ultra derivatives. The gap between $200 and $300 is currently flooded with bunch of different RADEON 9700-based solutions, though, ATI’s own products based on this GPU are already EOLed and surely AIB’s R300-powered devices will disappear quite soon. As a consequence of R300 end of life, ATI will need a graphics card to initially act in $200-$300 price segment against the advanced GeForce FX 5600 Ultra competitors and probably against the GeForce FX 5900 Value graphics cards eventually.
In the latest release of CATALYST 3.5 drivers ATI Technologies indicated support for a mysterious RADEON 9800 SE graphics card that has not been announced by any add-in-board company yet. At this point I can only guess that the graphics card will cost more than $200, but less than $300, however, no information about its clock-speeds, configurations of rendering pipelines and so on.