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While the only premier product officially announced by graphics chip designer ATI Technologies is called the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition, some makers of graphics cards enter a slightly slower version of the SKU called RADEON X800 XT.

New RADEON X800 XT SKU

In early May, 2004, Markham, Ontario-based chip designer ATI Technologies unveiled two graphics card designs to support high-end market: RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and RADEON X800 PRO. Both types of graphics cards are based on the same R420 chip, but with different number of pixel pipelines enabled. The RADEON X800 PRO features 12 pixel pipelines with 6 geometry pipelines and is clocked at 475MHz. The RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition graphics processor packs in 16 pixel pipelines with 6 geometry pipelines and is clocked at 520MHz.

“You will note that the product that we referred to as the RADEON X800 XT during your briefing is now called the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition. We are very pleased with the performance of this card and thought that it deserved a special name,” ATI said in early May, explaining the name of the premier product. Though, the company has never announced a “non-Platinum Edition” flavour of its RADEON X800 XT chip.

Sapphire Technology, one of the largest makers of Powered by ATI graphics cards, is currently shipping RADEON X800 XT graphics card clocked at 500MHz/1000MHz for core/memory, slower compared to speeds of the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition’s 520MHz/1120MHz. The Sapphire’s X800 XT SKU is available for $546 - $610 in Tokyo, Japan, Akiba PC Hotline web-site reports.

X-bit labs reviews published so far name the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition as the RADEON X800 XT. X-bit labs web-site did not review RADEON X800 XT “non-Platinum Edition” part, that is supposed to deliver lower performance compared to Platinum Edition iteration.

Positioning Unclear

It is unclear why ATI and its add-in-board partners decided to add a new high-cost RADEON X800 XT SKU into the lineup: the company’s RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition competes well against the GeForce 6800 Ultra, but the firm’s RADEON X800 PRO is typically slower compared to NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 GT. Earlier this year rumours emerged about lower-cost RADEON X800 XT flavour presumably named X800 GT and aimed specifically to offset the 6800 GT part from NVIDIA.

ATI’s RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and RADEON X800 PRO are currently priced officially at $499 and $399 price points, just like NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800 GT respectively.

ATI Technologies did not comment on the news-story.

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