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ATI Technologies extended today its lineup of professional graphics cards by announcing professional versions of the RADEON 9800 and RADEON 9600-based solutions. The products will raise the performance bar of entry-level and high-end professional products offered by ATI Technologies under FIRE GL brand-name. The FIRE GL X2-256 and FIRE GL T2-128 are direct competitors for NVIDIA’s Quadro FX 2000/3000 and Quadro FX 500 respectively, being priced considerably lower.

The FIRE GL X2-256, ATI’s a highest performance workstation graphics card with 256MB of unified DDR SDRAM graphics memory with 256-bit bus and dual DVI-I interfaces is based on the FGL 9800 Visual Processing Unit with 4 geometry engines and 8 parallel rendering pipelines. The FIRE GL X2-256 succeeds the FIRE GL X1-256p based on the RADEON 9700 technology and brings a number of new capabilities thanks to more advanced R350 architecture, including F-buffer support and improved HyperZ III+ technology.

ATI’s MSRP for the FIRE GL X2-256 graphics card intended for CAD, solid modeling, DCC and visual simulation applications, is $999. The FIRE GL X2-256 can be ordered today and will be available for shipment in mid-August.

The FIRE GL T2-128 is ATI’s entry-level workstation graphics card with 128MB of unified graphics memory and dual display support through DVI-I and

D-Sub connectors. The product is based the FGL 9600 VPU that features 2 geometry engines and 4 parallel rendering pipelines as well as other technologies found in the RADEON 9600 VPU.

The FireGL T2-128 is designed for CAD, AEC (architectural engineering and construction) and entry-level DCC users. ATI FIRE T2-128 has an MSRP of $379, making this is an affordable solution with probably the highest performance in its class.

Additionally, ATI announced today its Workstation Partner Program to better serve workstation resellers and system integrators. The new program will create a direct relationship with workstation-focused value added resellers and system integrators in North America by offering sales and technical support as well as co-marketing programs.

With the FIRE GL products based on RADEON 9700/9500 and 9800/9600 technologies ATI seems to be considerably more aggressive in the workstation business. Today the company also announced that Alias, Discreet and Softimage, the developers of Maya, 3ds max and XSI, integrated FIRE GL/RADEON hardware accelerated rendering capabilities into their applications. This integration allows users to view real-time cinematic previews within the application using OpenGL Shading Language and Microsoft DirectX 9 HLSL.

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