Tuesday, November 6, 2007

ATI Readies Ultra High-End "R680" Graphics Solution – Presentation Slide

If an image that resembles a slide from a presentation by Advanced Micro Devices’ graphics product group ATI that was found over a web-site is real, then the company has not given up to conquer the very high end of graphics card market and plans to sell its code-named ATI R680 graphics product for enthusiasts at $799 price-point.

There have been a lot of rumours regarding code-named ATI R680 graphics processor that contradicted each other in the last few months. Some sources indicated that the R680 had been cancelled and AMD will concentrate on popularizing its CrossFire multi-GPU solutions to attract customers who seek extreme performance to its products. Other sources claimed that ATI R680 is a dual-chip graphics card based on two ATI RV670 graphics processing units (GPUs).

Meanwhile, some said that ATI R680 is a single-chip high-end graphics card due to be out in Q1 2008.

According to the slide published at Tweaktown web-site, ATI R680 is indeed a high-end product for $799, but which is projected to be available already in Q4 2007. Technical details about the new graphics card are unclear, however, it is rumoured that the new high-end GPU from ATI/AMD will support DirectX 10.1, PCI Express 2.0, Avivo HD video engine with universal video decoder (UVD) as well as all the features currently available on ATI Radeon HD 2000-series GPUs.

AMD's graphics product group crucially needs to return to the market of expensive graphics accelerators with a competitive product as those customers, who buy high-end graphics boards usually influence decisions of others, who acquire something more affordable. Moreover, quite a lot of end-users buy performance-mainstream graphics cards after figuring out the leader in the high-end space and even do not pay attention to performance of the product they acutlly get. It should also be noted that high-end graphics cards have considerably higher profit margins compared to boards that are aimed at mainstream and performance-mainstream markets. High margins is just what the doctor ordered to the struggling graphics division that lost a substantial part of its market share after AMD executives got control over former ATI Technologies.

It should be noted that the slide published by Tweaktown web-site does not resemble typical slides from Advanced Micro Devices' roadmap and generally looks like a slide from one of the add-in card manufacturers. Moreover, the slide positions Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT below the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB, whereas in reality the new model offers higher performance than the 8800 GTS 320MB.

Officials for AMD did not comment on the news-story.

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