DirectX 9 to come too late for Radeon 9700
ATI's Radeon 9700 launch was certainly impressive, but there's going to be a bit of a snag when boards become commercially available. Though Radeon 9700 products will be on shelves likely by September, Microsoft isn't planning on having DirectX 9 ready until October. The Inquirer reports:
We mentioned in a previous article that DirectX 9 should be launched sometime around the beginning of October, so if ATI wants to deliver its cards in first two weeks of September, as is currently scheduled, it will need to ship cards with DirectX 8.1 or 8.1b and to ship it with a driver that will have support for DirectX 8.1 instructions but not for DirectX 9 as well.
This isn't the end of the world for ATI, but it's certainly a setback. The Radeon 9700 is an impressive solution for current-generation titles, but DirectX 8.1 just doesn't do it justice.
Perhaps most dangerous about this delay could be what it does to initial Radeon 9700 sales. Potential buyers may be more inclined to wait until DirectX 9's release to pick up ATI's latest graphics product, an extra month for NVIDIA to convince buyers they should wait for NV30.