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Advanced Micro Devices – for the first time – has announced the new mainstream graphics chip called ATI Radeon X1650 XT that should increase performance bar for graphics boards priced at $149. The new chip is expected to strengthen AMD’s positions in the market of mainstream graphics cards.

“The ATI Radeon X1650 XT redefines value at this phenomenal level of performance and features,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, graphics products group, AMD.

ATI Radeon X1650 XT - code-named RV560 - chip clocked at 575MHz features 24 pixel processors, 8 vertex shader processors, 8 texture units, 128-bit memory interface and so on. Graphics cards based on the Radeon X1650 XT will be equipped with 256MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1350MHz. Besides, the new Radeon X1650 XT sports built-in Compositing Engine functionality to enable seamless and efficient multi-GPU CrossFire tandems of two graphics boards.

ATI Radeon X1650 XT graphics cards will rival Nvidia’s GeForce 7600 GT offerings and are likely to offer not only increased performance, but also somewhat better functionality by supporting high dynamic range (HDR) lighting in conjunction with full-scene antialiasing and some other interesting features.

RV560 graphics chip is produced using 80nm process technology at TSMC foundries, thus, should be pretty affordable to build.

AMD’s ATI Radeon X1650 XT graphics boards from various manufacturers will be available for estimated street price of $149.

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