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We managed to find out some details concerning the mysterious RADEON 9800 SE graphics cards firstly mentioned in CATALYST 3.5 release notes. Apparently, there will be two versions of the RADEON 9800 SE, one of them will be pretty low-cost and will more resemble RADEON 9600, another will be more advanced and will probably become a successor of the legendary RADEON 9500 128MB that was easily transformed into more expensive RADEON 9700.

The first version of the RADEON 9800 SE will be made on simplified 6-layer PCB and feature 128-bit memory bus for 128MB of DDR SDRAM. The RADEON 9800 SE graphics chip will have only four active rendering pipelines. ATI Technologies again simply disables half of the VPU’s pixel pipelines and probably end-users should have a chance to re-enable them using tweaks in drivers or simply by re-soldering some resistors on the chip.

The second version of the RADEON 9800 SE graphics card will be made on 8-layer PCB and will boast with 256-bit bus for 128MB of DDR SDRAM memory. The chip will also feature only four pipelines, however, this is not an obstacle for brave overclockers and modders, is it? After certain tweaks some lucky users will probably get a fully-functional RADEON 9800 from a lower-cost RADEON 9800 SE solution.

Core and memory clocks of the RADEON 9800 SE graphics cards are to be determined, but in general I expect speeds of the RADEON 9800 SE with 128-bit memory bus to be lower compared to its brother with 256-bit bus.

As far as I understood, RADEON 9800 SE graphics cards are designed for OEMs’, some System Integrators, Asian markets and other price-conscious customers. In Europe ATI signed a deal with Media Markt to exclusively sell such cards into retail channel, whereas it is very likely that there will be almost no RADEON 9800 SE products in the US. All in all, RADEON 9800 SE graphics cards are not supposed to become massive. Though, market always places everything straight and hopefully there will be some RADEON 9800 SE products in Russia and Eastern Europe.

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