Graphics card and chip maker ATI Technologies Inc. today noted that its Radeon 9700 Pro graphics board is available as a build to order (BTO) option on Apple’s new Power Mac G4s, unveiled earlier this week. The Radeon 9700 Pro is ATI’s flagship graphics card, faster than previous Mac-compatible offerings either from ATI or rival Nvidia Corp.
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ATI’s Radeon 9700 is not yet shipping — selecting the card as an option from Apple’s online store shows users an “available soon” tag. The option costs an additional US$300 over the standard Radeon 9000 Pro card included with the Power Mac G4 — the same price as an Nvidia GeForce 4Ti-equipped graphics card option.
The Radeon 9700 Pro card is equipped with eight parallel-rendering pipelines with the ability to process 2.5 billion pixels per second, according to ATI. The 9700’s four parallel geometry engines process more than 300 million transformed and lit polygons per second. The card also features a 256-bit DDR memory interface and 128MB of on-board RAM.
The Radeon 9700 also comes equipped with ATI’s “Hyper Z III” technology, which conserves memory bandwidth by reducing “overdraw,” or the rendering of unseen pixels. Smartshader 2.0 is also on board — ATI’s pixel and vertex shading technology, as is Smoothvision 2.0, ATI’s solution for full-scene anti-aliasing.
Neither ATI nor Apple have specified when the Radeon 9700 Pro will ship for the Macintosh. ATI used Macworld Expo in San Francisco earlier this month to show off the Radeon 9700 at its booth; ATI representatives indicated that the company’s engineers were well along in the development of Mac drivers for the card. 9700 cards were also used extensively throughout the Expo show floor’s game area.