As we inch closer to the expected November 15 launch of AMD's RV670-based Radeon HD 3800-series graphics cards, the company has quietly let loose another R600-based offering in the retail market. The card is the Radeon HD 2900 GT we first learned about back in September, and an HIS model is already in stock and available at Newegg for $196.99.
According to the specifications listed on HIS's website, the vanilla Radeon HD 2900 GT features 240 stream processors, a 600MHz core clock speed, 256MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 800MHz, and a 256-bit memory bus. By contrast, the Radeon HD 2900 Pro that launched quietly in a similar fashion last month has 320 SPs, a 600MHz core clock, and 512MB of 800MHz GDDR3 RAM pushing data through a 512-bit bus. The top-end Radeon HD 2900 XT has similar specs to the 2900 Pro but with 742MHz/825MHz core/memory clocks. All three cards feature the same dual-slot cooler.
Of course, with Radeon HD 3870 and 3850 graphics cards expected next week at sub-$250 price points, it's hard to recommend the 2900 GT just yet. And, as we saw in our benchmarks, Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT trumps even the Radeon HD 2900 XT, and it's likely to slip back into its intended $199-249 price range once supply catches up with demand. (Thanks to TR reader KB for the heads-up.)