Earlier this week graphics chip and card maker
ATI Technologies Inc.
announced delivery of the Radeon 9800 Pro, its latest flagship consumer graphics card. While the announcement was specific to its PC version, ATI spokespeople are optimistic that this card will make it to the Macintosh as a retail product.
The high-end PC card sports 256MB of Double Data Rate-2 (DDR-2) memory, and draws so much power that it requires an auxiliary power cable to be connected to the hard drive power interface as well. It sports eight pipelines, a 256-bit memory interface and full support not only for Microsoft’s proprietary DirectX 9.0 API but also OpenGL 2.0. As with ATI’s past processors, the graphics chip that powers the Radeon 9800 Pro card can scale to installation in Mac systems, as well.
Product manager Eric Lindquist told MacCentral that the card’s processor has been developed to support the next generation of graphics engines being developed for use in games like Doom 3, Unreal 2 and Half Life 2. In fact, ATI’s booth at this week’s E3 Expo is the only place on the show floor where attendees can view Half Life 2 in action.
ATI is reluctant to offer a specific release schedule for the Radeon 9800’s deployment on the Macintosh platform — past announcements have been plagued by unexpected delays as the company has ramped up production and delivery for its PC products.
ATI spokespeople admit that the Mac market is ripe for a high-end performance graphics card designed for hardcore gamers. ATI hopes to deliver on the promise that this card holds for Mac gamers looking for ultimate power soon, however, so look for more details in the weeks and months to come.
The PC version of the Radeon 9800 Pro is now available in limited quantities, and carries a suggested retail price of US$499.