Graphics chip and card maker
ATI Technologies Inc. today unveiled its newest and fasted graphics chip yet, along with a series of new video cards too. The good news for Mac users is that this technology is heading our way, too. MacCentral has an
in-depth analysis of this new technology, but here’s an overview of what ATI has unveiled today.
The flagship chip and card is the Radeon 8500. It’s a second-generation Radeon technology that incorporates ATI’s previously vaunted technologies Truform and Smartshader, along with Smoothvision, a new anti-aliasing technology, and improved versions of technologies that appeared in the previous Radeon products — like HyperZ II, its memory bandwidth management system, Charisma Engine II, the chip’s transform and lighting engine, Pixel Tapestry II, Radeon’s texturing technology, and Video Immersion II, the Radeon’s video display technology.
ATI is introducing three new video cards, as well. The flagship model, also called the Radeon 8500, is positioned as a card for performance-oriented 3D application and game users. It ships with 64MB of DDR (double data rate) RAM clocked at 275MHz — the fastest DDR RAM available in quantity, according to ATI. The core processor is clocked at 250MHz. Expected to be released in September, the card will carry a suggested retail price of US$399.
The Radeon 8500 is equipped with three video output interfaces. It can be connected to a digital flat panel display using the DVI-I interface, and it also supports a VGA interface for a connection to a conventional CRT or analog flat panel. An S-Video output interface rounds out the card’s backplane, enabling the video card to output to a TV monitor or any other S-Video-equipped device. And like the Radeon VE Mac Edition card unveiled at last month’s Macworld Expo in New York, the Radeon 8500 features the ability to simultaneously output to two video sources, so it can be used as a multi-monitor card.
The important thing for Mac users to note is that the Radeon 8500 will also be available in a Mac Edition card sometime this fall — hopefully to be introduced sometime around or shortly after the time the Radeon 8500 ships. The Mac card should have virtually identical characteristics as its PC counterpart.
The Radeon 7500 actually uses a core technology based on the original Radeon chip design, as opposed to the other cards, although it’s 60 percent faster than previous models. Aimed at the mainstream PC market, the Radeon 7500 will retail for under $200. It will not, however, be available in a Mac version. Neither will the Fire GL 8800, a card designed for mid-range PC workstations.
There’s no word as MacCentral went to press with this article about whether Apple will offer the Radeon 8500 Mac Edition as an option on its Power Mac G4 systems or included with any other Macs, but ATI retains a focus on the Mac market, according to ATI’s senior Vice President Rick Bergman.
“The Radeon 8500 moves our industry’s objective of bringing full visual reality to the PC and Mac platforms a quantum step forward,” said Bergman.