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ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 graphics card, which was formally announced back in August and is still yet unavailable, will finally reach stores in the coming weeks, according to ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices.

The ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 graphics cards that feature two ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics chips along with 2GB of GDDR3 memory (1GB per chip) are now “validated” by graphics cards makers, said Sasha Marinkovic, senior product marketing manager at AMD’s graphics products group at a news-conference on Thursday.

According to Mr. Marinkovic, ATI provided reference design of the Radeon HD 4850 X2 graphics cards to manufacturers and expects to see the new graphics cards on the market shortly. It is unclear why did makers of graphics boards decided to delay the model HD 4850 X2 by months when compared to mid-August release time-frame for the top-of-the-range model HD 4870 X2.

The dual-chip graphics card based on ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics chips is expected to cost between $350 and $399, according to AMD’s ATI unit. The new product will compete directly with Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 graphics board, currently the highest-performance single-chip 3D graphics accelerator for video games on the market, which retails for $449 - $499.

While ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 may offer higher performance than that of the GeForce GTX 280, it may not be as popular as the Radeon HD 4870 X2 despite of lower price. All multi-GPU configurations depend on driver and application optimizations, which is why dual-chip graphics cards may not deliver horsepower of two chips in all game titles, meaning that performance may drop to the level of a single-chip graphics board that costs two times less. Since the Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card is very high-performance graphics card itself, many gamers may not get worried that in certain apps only one chip functions. Since the model HD 4850 belongs to performance-mainstream class of accelerators, the speed one of such cards delivers may be unacceptable for those, who buy the HD 4850 X2 model for $399.

Tags: ATI, Radeon

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