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ATI Technologies’ add-in-card partner Sapphire has begun shipments of graphics cards powered by ATI’s latest visual processing units – ATI RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition. The products are currently available in Tokyo, Japan, as well as in a number of online stores in the USA. European availability is unclear.

ATI RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition Finally Here

The latest ATI RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition graphics processors and cards on their base are presently positioned as top offerings from ATI Technologies and its add-in-card partners. The RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition visual processing unit has 16 pixel pipelines and 6 vertex pipelines and is clocked at 540MHz, typically graphics cards are equipped with 256MB of GDDR3 memory with 256-bit interface and 1180MHz frequency. Other recently unveiled RADEON X8-series visual processing units are expected to have 6 or 12 pixel and 6 vertex pipelines, feature 256-bit memory interface; the products will be available for PCI Express x16 interconnection only.

ATI RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition is currently considered the world’s faster graphics cards for 3D applications. Nevertheless, its pricing is unlikely to allow a lot of gamers to enjoy the best Markham, Ontario-based ATI Technologies has to offer.

Available in Japan and the USA for $695 - $1000

While ATI’s official recommended price for the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition graphics cards is set to $549, actual price retailers sell the product for is much higher than that. US-based search-engine Pricewatch listed a number of RADEON X850 XT PE offerings for $707 - $989, while Tokyo, Japan-based web-site Akiba PC Hotline reported about availability of the RADEON X850 XT PE products for 695 - $875. Some RADEON X850 XT PE products are supplied in retail packages with numerous additional accessories, others are shipped in OEM packages – only with cables and drivers.

ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition, only a slightly slower previous-generation product, currently costs from $542 to $779, according to Pricewatch. Graphics cards based ATI’s arch-rival NVIDIA’s top-of-the-range chip GeForce 6800 Ultra are priced from $498 to $850, according to the search-engine.

At this point RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition graphics cards can only be bought from Sapphire Technology and PowerColor graphics cards makers. Later on other partners of ATI Technologies are likely to pick up with their RADEON X850-series offerings.

ATI originally said its latest top-end product would be available starting January 1, 2005. However, due to some reasons the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition become available only in the second half of January.

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