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Standing just a step behind the time when both leading graphics chips developers release their new generation of processors, some makers of add-in graphics cards put the idea of relatively affordable graphics cards based on current high-end offerings under knife.

In October 2003 both ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation released their new offerings, dubbed RADEON 9800 XT and GeForce FX 5950 Ultra. While the novelties did not bring any new capabilities, they featured seriously overclocked graphics processors and memory, bringing truly ultimate performance into the desktop market. Additionally, they featured 256MB of memory – the size that is not something compulsory for the majority of today’s games that play smoothly on 128MB graphics cards.

To support sales of high-end components to broader audience, some partners of ATI Technologies, namely CP Technology and Sapphire Technology, disclosed plans to introduce 128MB RADEON 9800 XT graphics cards. However, such plans still have not materialized.

This week representative for Tul Corporation (the new name for CP Technology) and Sapphire Technology told X-bit labs that there were no RADEON 9800 XT graphics cards with 128MB of DDR SDRAM memory expected to come. The companies only offer RADEON 9800 PRO products with 128MB of memory for the high-end market, according to the claim.

RADEON 9800 XT is based on R360 graphics processor that is capable of running at speeds of 412MHz or higher. RADEON 9800 PRO graphics cards are typically based on R350 chips clocked at 380MHz. However, there are some RADEON 9800 PRO graphics cards on the market that are equipped with R360 chips that are still clocked according to the RADEON 9800 PRO specs, but have some additional frequency headroom for the chip.

Certain sources also reported that add-in graphics cards partners of ATI Technologies are planning to introduce their value 128MB graphics cards based on ATI’s next-generation architecture code-named R420 presumably branded as RADEON X800. Such solutions are expected to offer equal, or higher performance compared to the RADEON 9800 XT series.

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