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Club3D, a well-known add-in-card vendor based in the Netherlands, included AGP 8x flavours of ATI’s latest RADEON X800- and RADEON X850-series of products into its catalogue for January – April, 2005. While availability dates and pricing is unclear, the move confirms intention of ATI Technologies to offer new high-end products for the upgrade market that currently fully relies on AGP 8x.

Club3D Offers AGP 8x Versions of RADEON X850, X800

The list of products Club3D may offer in the January – April, 2005, timeframe includes ATI RADEON X800-series products with 128MB or 256MB of memory and 128-bit/256-bit memory bus designed for PCI Express x16 or AGP 8x interconnection as well as RADEON X850-series with 256MB of 256-bit GDDR3 memory designed for systems with PCI Express x16 or AGP 8x.

Sources in the industry said 128-bit memory bus can be used for the RADEON X800 products, at least those powered by R430 ASIC; however, ATI Technologies currently does not allow its partners to employ 128-bit memory configuration onto RADEON X800-series products.

Club3D's brief ATI RADEON product lineup

According to the Club3D’s product information, the firm plans to release RADEON X800 XL and RADEON X850 PRO graphics cards based on ATI’s R430 and R481 ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) respectively. For some reason, RADEON X800 graphics card featuring R430 chip is listed as a product approaching its end-of-life (EOL). The firm also has a full range of ATI’s RADEON X800- and RADEON X850-series products. The ATI R430 graphics chip which natively supports PCI Express x16 bus can be installed onto AGP 8x graphics cards provided that they are equipped with a special bridge called Rialto. ATI’s R481 ASIC is projected to be AGP 8x flavour of the company’s top R480 visual processing unit (VPU).

Club3D's product catalogue

Club3D's rivals in the USA and EU are likely to offer similar products shortly.

ATI Needs More AGP 8x Products to Target “Upgrade” Market

ATI Technologies reaffirmed its plans to offer “more” AGP 8x products in late January, 2005.

While large PC makers and OEMs are gradually transitioning their product ranges to PCI Express bus, there are a lot of end-users who would like to upgrade their graphics cards on AGP platforms. Given that there are a lot of high-end PCs with powerful processors and a lot of memory with AGP bus and it hardly makes sense for owners of such computers to migrate to PCI Express-supporting machines now, hence, graphics chips designers should have products to offer them.

ATI Technologies’ archrival NVIDIA Corp. recently said its AGP 8x products, including those that use NVIDIA’s special bridge that converts PCI Express signals into AGP signals and otherwise, had been gaining wide market acceptance.

AGP graphics cards powered by ATI’s RADEON X800 or RADEON X800 XL graphics processors can capture a significant part of retail AGP 8x market, as both graphics chips are made using cost-effective 110nm process technology and feature pretty competitive pricing in PCI Express segment, at the same time offering higher or inline performance compared to NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 GT and GeForce 6800 offerings.

At the time of publishing ATI Technologies had not responded to requests for comment on the news-story.


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