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ATI Technologies may cancel its RADEON X700 XT product in favour of the recently unveiled RADEON X800 product, citing lower-than-expected yields of the former and better performance of the latter compared to the original performance mainstream X700 XT visual processing unit.

RADEON X800 Comes to Replace RADEON X700 XT

According to reports from various media around the world, the RADEON X700 XT product may never become mass, as ATI is reportedly planning to can it in favour of the RADEON X800 product that was announced on the 1st of December. Chinese web-site HKEPC.com was the first to submit the news-story on the 7th of December, 2004. If the information is correct, the decision may improve ATI’s positioning in the performance-mainstream and the high-end market.

The RADEON X700 graphics processor aka RV410 is made using 0.11 micron process technology at TSMC and consists of 110 million of transistors. The chip has 8 pixel pipelines and 6 vertex pipelines, yielding more complex specifications compared to previous mainstream visual processing units by ATI Technologies. The RADEON X700-series supports innovative technologies found in the RADEON X800 family of visual processing units unveiled earlier this year, such as Shader Model 2.0b and 3Dc.

The RADEON X800 visual processing unit, also referred as R430, is also manufactured using TSMC’s 0.11 micron process technology, builds in 12-16 pixel pipelines along with 6 vertex processors, but consists of about 160 million of transistors. The chip naturally sports all of ATI’s this year’s graphics innovations and, thanks to more complex architecture and 256-bit memory controller, can function at lower speeds compared to the RADEON X700 XT and still deliver decent performance.

An ATI’s spokesperson could not return email seeking for comment by press time.

Still No RADEON X700 XT in Retail

ATI originally promised its add-in card partners would supply the first batch of the RADEON X700 PRO graphics cards to the market in late September, 2004, the actual graphics cards emerged only in mid-October. The company also said its RADEON X700 XT parts would be available in October-November timeframe, but the actual RADEON X700 XT graphics cards are not available widely at press time.

A source close to ATI Technologies said in late September, 2004, the company would only rate A2 revision of its code-named RV410 graphics processor to run at 475MHz speeds, which corresponds to ATI’s RADEON X700 XT model.

Unfortunately for ATI, its arch-rival NVIDIA supplies its performance-mainstream GeForce 6600 GT that competes with the X700 XT in quantities.

RADEON X800 Brings Better Performance, Value

ATI’s RADEON X700 XT was initially set to operate at core-clocks of 475MHz/1050MHz for chip/memory, which required a powerful cooling system for the visual processing unit along with 1.6ns GDDR3 memory. Even though ATI has been quite successful recently in bumping up core-clocks of its VPUs, the company did not manage to release sufficient quantities of the RADEON X700 XT chips at 475MHz, which is why the market is currently being supplied by the RADEON X700 PRO graphics cards with 425MHz chips.

ATI Technologies' High-End, Performance-Mainstream, Mainstream VPUs Comparison

 

RADEON X850 PRO

RADEON X800 PRO*

RADEON X800 XL

RADEON X800

RADEON X800 SE*

RADEON X700 XT*

RADEON X700 PRO

RADEON X700

VPU Code-name

R480

R420; R423

R430

R430

R420; R423

RV410

RV410

RV410

VPU Frequency

520MHz

475MHz

400MHz

400MHz~390MHz

425MHz

475MHz

425MHz

400MHz

Pixel Pipelines

12

12

16

12

8

8

8

8

Vertex Pipelines

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

Memory Type

GDDR3

GDDR3

GDDR3

DDR

DDR

GDDR3

GDDR3

DDR

Memory Size

256MB

256MB

256MB

128MB

256MB

128/256MB

128/256MB

128MB

Memory Frequency

1080MHz

900MHz

980MHz

700MHz

800MHz

1050MHz

864MHz

700MHz

Memory Bus

256-bit

256-bit

256-bit

256-bit

256-bit

128-bit

128-bit

128-bit

Interconnection

PCI Express

PCI Express; AGP

PCI Express

PCI Express

PCI Express; AGP

PCI Express

PCI Express

PCI Express

MSRP

$399

~399$

$349

$229 ~ $249

~$249

$199~$249

<$199

$149

*A SKU to be potentially discontinued in future

In case the company cans the RADEON X700 XT, its place will be occupied by ATI RADEON X800 product equipped with R430 VPU (12 pixel pipelines, 6 vertex pipelines) clocked at 400MHz or 390MHz along with 256-bit DDR memory operating at 700MHz. With such specifications the RADEON X800 can deliver roughly 23% higher fillrate and 33% higher memory bandwidth compared to the RADEON X700 XT product; still peak geometry output is likely to be around 20% higher on the RADEON X700 XT due to increase clock-speed of the VPU.

Some sources claim the RADEON X800 will cost from $229 to $249 in retail, which is a bit lower than ATI originally expected ($249) and only moderately higher than the MSRP for the RADEON X700 XT. In case the X800 part delivers higher speed than the X700 XT and is available widely, ATI may offer significant competition to NVIDIA’s GeForce 6600 GT offering, which performance in roughly similar to the RADEON X700 XT.

Still, even with a powerful RADEON X800 PCI Express graphics card offered at an affordable price-point, ATI will have to offer its RADEON 9800 and X800 SE graphics cards for the AGP 8x market, as the majority of graphics cards selling in retail are still AGP.

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