Pictures of ATI’s Next-Gen Graphics Card Emerge

ATI’s RADEON X1800 Gets Shape

by Anton Shilov
09/08/2005 | 12:30 AM

Photos of what is claimed to be an ATI’s graphics card based on the next-generation visual processing unit code-named R520 has been posted over the Internet. The board is large and resembles NVIDIA-based solutions, which was expected. In a separate news-story, an Asian web-site suggests that ATI will use RADEON X1800 brand-name for the R520 part.


As reported, ATI R520 graphics card is not as compact as the company’s RADEON X800-series products, but is relatively long, about the same size or longer compared to NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX products. The voltage regulator design of what is allegedly the R520 XT-powered graphics card is much more complex compared to that of the RADEON X850 XT products, it involves a lot of load-bearing elements some of which require passive cooling.

Graphics card presumably based on ATI R520 graphics processor. Photo by

Initially, the less compact design was believed to be created in order to have some additional flexibility in terms of board capabilities, e.g., ATI’s add-in card partners might be able to create ALL-IN-WONDER products featuring R520 quickly after the product is launched commercially. However, the pictured print-circuit board does not seem to have enough space for additional logic. Furthermore, while the board seems to have a place to mount ATI Rage Theatre, the chip that provides video in/video out (VIVO) capabilities is not present. Earlier ATI’s top-of-the-range – or XT – products always featured VIVO.

Graphics card presumably based on ATI R520 graphics processor. Photo by HKEPC

As expected, ATI’s R520 XT uses RADEON X850-like, but not exactly the same, dual-slot cooling system that exhausts hot air outside computer case. Less powerful versions of the R520 – such as PRO, XL and LE – are projected to sport single-slot coolers.

The graphics card which is claimed to be the top-of-the-range R520 XT employs Samsung’s GDDR3 1.26ns memory chips clocked at 1.40GHz.

HKEPC and web-sites, which have published pictures of front and back sides of the graphics card that they claim to be ATI R520 XT, did not indicate whether the posted images represent engineering samples or final products. 

Separately, HKEPC web-site has issued a news-story that claims ATI’s code-named R520 visual processing units will be officially branded as the RADEON X1800. 

ATI code-named R5-series of VPUs is projected to support Shader Model 3.0 and other innovations, which requires totally new graphics architecture from ATI. Among other improvements the flagship R520 product is expected to have over predecessors is a new memory controller. Neither brand-name of the new breed of VPUs, nor their launch schedule have been confirmed, but it is projected that the R520 is to be released sometime in October.

ATI representatives did not comment on the news-story.