ATI claims 174GB/s of memory bandwidth

The effective 48GB/s of memory bandwidth that NVIDIA is claiming for its upcoming GeForce FX looks to be, at least on paper, much more impressive than the 19.8GB/s offered by ATI's Radeon 9700 Pro. However, that 48GB/s is a little misleading because takes into account some of NVIDIA's nifty new compression techniques. ATI has some compression tricks up its sleeve with the Radeon 9700 Pro, but they haven't been taking them into account when quoting memory bandwidth. Well, they hadn't.

Faced with a whirlwind of GeForce FX hype, it looks like ATI is answering NVIDIA's claimed 48GB/s with some lofty memory bandwidth claims of its own. The Inquirer has the scoop:

ATI said it is using 8.8 to 1 compression method on the Radeon 9700 PRO cards that can deliver an astonishing 174.2GB per second in the best case. A rare bird in practice, we'd suggest.
I'm not sure if ATI's outlandish claims aren't somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but they do at least put the GeForce FX's announced memory bandwidth into perspective. When companies start messing around with the math used to calculate memory bandwidth, no one wins, and paper specs end up looking that much more meaningless.
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