Sneak peek at ATI's GeForce2 Ultra killer

TR reader and news tipster Rand sends word of these pictures at PCPOP of, it appears, ATI's Radeon SE graphics card. According to a blurb at x-bit labs, the card is basically a Radeon 64MB VIVO, but it comes with a 230MHz core clock and 200MHz memory. Boards are expected to start shipping this quarter. At those speeds, I expect the more efficient Radeon design could rival the GeForce 2 Ultra in performance. (See my Radeon review to find out why.)

This would be an important move for ATI, because they could match the performance not only of the GeForce2 Ultra, but also the GeForce3 on current games. For a while, at least, ATI would appear to be at parity with NVIDIA again.

However, fantastical rumors about the Radeon 2 aside, I've had a GeForce3 in Damage Labs here for a few weeks now, and I have to say that it's a stunning achievement. The "static" rendering abilities of the card may be only a little better than the GeForce2 or Radeon, but the chip's ability to bend and deform polygon meshes in real time is mind-blowing. Add in per-pixel shader effects, and it's over. The GeForce3 is the biggest advance in consumer-level 3D since 3dfx's Voodoo graphics. Once these cards hit the shelves for real and price competition heats up, the current rap on them—that they're too expensive and no better than the GF2 Ultra—will fade more quickly than you expect.

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