ATI, the graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, will delay the release of the long-awaited code-named R600 graphics processing unit (GPU) by several weeks, sources said on late Tuesday. The delay is likely to impact sales of the company’s graphics cards during the quarter, as despite of low volume, the high-end graphics card come at a high price.
Officials from Advanced Micro Devices confirmed the product delay saying that the code-named R600 has been delayed due to strategy-related reasons and a wish to address broader market segments.
“To better align our strategy with current market opportunities, we’ve changed the launch plan for R600. We are going to deliver a competitive configuration to market with an extremely attractive combination of performance, features and pricing, targeting a broader market segment in Q2,” a statement by the company reads.
Usually leading designers of standalone graphics processors for graphics cards release two versions of the new chips at launch: the highest-performance one and a product with lower specs providing lower performance (e.g. Radeon X1800 XT and XL or GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS), however, at this point the R600 would have to target not only the GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS that are sold for $599 and $449, but also the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB, which is available for $299. By delaying the product by a few weeks, AMD receives some time to analyze it specs and make possible tweaks to better address the market.
The reason for the delay might be plain and simple, though: already made changes to the lineup and consequent delay of production shipments. A document by AMD regarding the R600 release schedule leaked onto the Internet several days ago confirmed once again that AMD is preparing two versions of its new product: a long one – 12”, targeted at system integrators – and a shorter one with 9” or 9.5” length aimed at the channel. However, the document claimed that production boards for the channel market will reach add-in-card suppliers only on the 12th or 13th week, just days before the quarter ends, hence, it would be hard for AMD to commercially release the product in Q1 2007.
“With the revised strategy, AMD will be better able to capitalize on the broad appeal of 3D graphics and DirectX 10, being driven in part by the growing popularity of Windows Vista,” the statement by AMD claims optimistically.
The final release date of the R600 remains unclear and it is also unclear whether the company may have plans to align the R600 commercial launch with the preview of the code-named RV610 and RV630 products.