Controversy Over High-End Graphics Cards Availability Arises

Availability Dates for the GeForce 6800 and RADEON X800 Unclear

by Anton Shilov
05/10/2004 | 01:31 PM

Having said that the RADEON X800 PRO graphics cards were immediately available on the 4th of May, ATI Technologies may find itself in a pretty difficult situation, as the RADEON X800 PRO products have only reached very limited availability by the 10th of May, while the more powerful RADEON X800 XT are indicated to come in late June, a month later than ATI said. However, the dates when competing solutions powered by NVIDIA GeForce 6800-series chips are coming into the market also not quite clear.


ATI RADEON X800 PRO Available in One Store?

After a quick investigation using the price-search engine, it was found out that no online stores have the RADEON X800 PRO in stock. reflects dozens of US-based e-tailers. Well-known European graphics cards maker Club3D said Monday it will ship its RADEON X800 PRO products on the 22nd week. Japanese web-site Akiba PC Hotline that tracks down PC hardware market in Tokyo, Japan, reports that the initial RADEON X800 PRO batch will reach retail on the 14th of May. The only store who seems to have ATI RADEON X800 PRO graphics cards in-stock is CompUSA, who also notes that the RADEON X800 XT graphics cards will be selling only on the 25th of June. Club3D also confirmed RADEON X800 XT availability on the 26th week, 2004.

ATI Technologies said its add-in graphics cards partners would ship the RADEON X800 PRO products starting from the 4th of May, while the RADEON X800 XT-based SKUs would be available on the 21st of May, 2004.

Representatives for ATI Technologies did not return emails asking for comments at press time.

GeForce 6800 Ultra to Come in Late June?

While the information available now clearly indicates certain issues with the supplies of the RADEON X800 PRO and X800 XT graphics cards, it seems that the situation with NVIDIA GeForce 6800-series is also pretty strange. Club3D said its GeForce 6800-powered graphics cards will be available on the 22nd week, while the GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800 GT SKUs will only show up around the 26th week.

NVIDIA Corporation originally said that its add-in graphics cards partners would ship the GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics cards in late-May or early-June.

As previously reported, Albatron aims to have its Trinity GeForce 6800 Ultra and GeForce 6800 available in Asia in mid-May. An NVIDIA’s spokesman in the UK said Monday: “It is difficult for us to quote exactly the shipping dates of our partners. I would suggest that you do check the dates with our other partners directly as I think you will find the most of them will be shipping around the same time.”

Virtual Competition Gets Sharper?

This year both leading developers of graphics processors are facing even fiercer competition with each other than before, as both have excellent technologies at hands. To demonstrate monster performance by high-end offerings, both have built-in 16 pixel pipelines into their graphics processors to roll-out massive pixel shader and fillrate power.

But setting the chips with complex internal micro-architecture to work on high clock-speeds appeared to be pretty tough task for both Santa Clara, California-based and Markham, Ontario-based graphics companies. Moreover, it looks like the graphics processors with 16 rendering pipelines may emerge in quantities later than expected originally, which may be a sign of certain troubles chip designers may have with yields of complex chips and their clock-speeds.

In case both companies manage to roll-out only the performance-mainstream parts with 8 or 12 pipelines shortly while putting the mass shipments of 16-pipe chips on hold, it will be pretty clear that the competition between the companies is for virtual place on top of the graphics hill in media reviews rather than for actual shipments of fast high-end products with 16 pipelines. This is pretty understandable, as customers pay more attention to the company who is on the top when acquiring their mainstream or entry-level graphics cards sometimes even not considering the actual performance of what they are buying versus competition in the same price-segment.