CORRECTION: Contrary to the reports and expectations, ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro graphics card features fully-fledged ATI R600 graphics processor with 320 unified shader processors, 16 texture units, 16 render back ends and 512-bit memory controller as the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT model. For details read our news-story “AMD Says ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro – Limited Edition Product”.
ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, has released a new version of drivers for graphics cards that support products that are about to be released commercially. Among the new graphics boards set to become available shortly are dual-chip Radeon HD 2600 products as well as cut-down ATI Radeon HD 2900 card.
The new ATI Catalyst 7.9 drivers, which are simultaneously released for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems, support ATI Radeon HD 2600 X2-series graphics cards, which are based on two Radeon HD 2600 chips and have been announced by GeCube and Sapphire, as well as ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro graphics cards, which have not been announced by any partner of AMD. The information about support was located in CX_52443.inf file from the Catalyst pack.
Currently AMD has a gap in its DirectX 10 lineup starting from $179 and ending at $399. It is believed that dual-chip ATI Radeon HD 2600 graphics boards will be able to compete against Nvidia’s GeForce 8600 GTS in $179 - $249 segment, but it is unknown whether ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro is targeted at $249 - $349 segment, or it is set to compete against the GeForce 8600 GTS as well. Nevertheless, the emergence of the model HD 2900 Pro was predicted in late August.
Specifications of ATI Radeon HD 2900 Pro are unknown, but it is believed that they will resemble specifications of ATI FireGL V7600 professional graphics accelerator, which comes with fully-fledged ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT/R600 chip with 320 unified shader processing units, but features 256-bit memory bus instead of 512-bit memory bus on the high-end models. Theoretically, besides the HD 2900 Pro AMD may also release HD 2900 GT eventually that will feature 256-bit memory bus and reduced amount of shader processors.
ATI has had a history of releasing cut-down versions of its high-end or performance-mainstream graphics cards to utilize chips that contain flaws in certain execution units. Such units are disabled and while the chips can work without issues, its performance is below the fully-featured brethren.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.