ATi introduces the Radeon 9700 and 9000 Pro
Much has been speculated about ATi's new graphics chips in the past few weeks. Today the Canadian graphics card manufacturer has let the cat out of the bag and presents two new mainstream cards with the ATi Radeon 9000 (Pro) and a new high-end device with the DirectX 9.0 compatible Radeon 9700.
With that the R300 and RV250 have now dropped their code names, although ATi breaks with the old nomenclature. So far, the first number in the graphics card name denotes the supported DirectX version. However, the Radeon 9000/9000 Pro is not fully DirectX 9 compatible and its range of functions is on the level of a Radeon 8500, in terms of performance even lower. The Radeon 9000 and 9000 Pro only differ in the clock. While the 9000 has to get by with 250/250 MHz (core/memory), the 9000 Pro is clocked at 275/275 MHz. The recommended retail price for the 9000 Pro with 64 MB graphics memory and DVI-I, VGA and TV-out will be US $ 149.
The Radeon 9700 chip is much more interesting. This will be used by ten manufacturers (eleven with ATi), including Creative Labs, Gigabyte and Hercules, on future products. As already mentioned, this is the first fully DirektX 9 compatible chip that no longer wants to be called a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The designation Visual Processing Unit (VPU) already used by 3DLabs for the P10 now also applies to the ATi chip. The Radeon 9700 supports AGP 8x, is based on a 256-bit memory bus like the Matrox Parhelia and is fully programmable. The chip supports version 2.0 pixel and smart shaders, offers Smoothvision 2.0 (ATi's full-scene anti-aliasing) and video shaders, which use a programmable pixel shader to accelerate video streaming. Video effects are also possible with the video shader. The Radeon 9700 still supports thatEncoding and decoding of MPEG-2 in hardware.
The recommended retail price of the 128MB version of the Radeon 9700 with DVI-I, VGA and TV-out is 399 US dollars. First deliveries are expected in August. Anandtech already has the first test results for the card.