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Everybody knows that ATI Technologies will soon unveil a boosted version of the RADEON 9600-series graphics processors code-named RV360 to offer even more speed for mainstream market. Additionally, the company also plans to roll-out the successor of the RADEON 9800 PRO code-named the R360. But very few currently know about official brand-names of the newcomers.

Beginning from the year 2001 when ATI Technologies introduced its RADEON 8500 and RADEON 7500 graphics processors and renamed the RADEON 256 and RADEON VE graphics chips into RADEON 7200 and RADEON 7000, every new number in the brand-name meant higher performance and/or more 3D graphics capabilities. A similar nomenclature of the branding was introduced by 3dfx some years ago and was later adopted by NVIDIA with its GeForce 4 Titanium and GeForce4 MX products.

However, the tradition of the “higher number – higher performance” was breached by ATI Technologies by the introduction of the RADEON 9000 and 9000 PRO graphics chips with performance lower compared to the RADEON 8500 and then by NVIDIA Corporation with the introduction of the GeForce FX 5200 that was considerably slower compared to the GeForce4 Ti4200, not talking about GeForce4 Ti4600. Later ATI Technologies also introduced the RADEON 9600 PRO that is slower compared to the RADEON 9500 PRO and the RADEON 9200, weaker compared to the RADEON 9100 that is renamed RADEON 8500LE, a slower version of the RADEON 8500. All these introductions almost disavowed the ancient 3dfx’s “higher number – higher performance” paradigm that is very helpful to consumers when choosing a graphics card.

Probably, the product code-named R360 will be almost surely called as the RADEON 9900 PRO, but a thing I am wondering about now is the official brand-name of the RV360 PRO, an overclocked version of the RADEON 9600 PRO.

In order to show the strength of the new VPU, ATI Technologies will have to change its brand-name a bit.

A way to show the higher-speed compared to the predecessor is to introduce a graphics processor with higher number in the brand-name. But ATI already has the RADEON 9800 and the RADEON 9700 graphics chips and the only spare number less than 10 000 is the RADEON 9900. But the RADEON 9900 PRO is actually another high-end chip we know as the R360. Moreover, the RADEON 9900 does not seem to be a good number for the RV360 because it will be slower compared to the RADEON 9700 and 9800 products and such brand-name will heavily mislead the end-users.

ATI may call the RV360 as the RADEON 9600 ULTRA or something like that, but in this case it would have to introduce a proper brand-name for a bit slower version of the RV360 intended for substituting the original RADEON 9600. As a result, there would be 4 VPUs in the RADEON 9600 series, whereas all the previous series of ATI graphics processors consisted of only one or two versions of the chip. So, the introduction of the new chip using this type of branding will be a change in ATI Technologies’ traditions, but will be a very convenient change for the vast majority of customers.

What do you think about the brand-name of the product code-named RV360? Post your comments!

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