Cards in the X1000 series
Like I said, ATI is unleashing a whole range of cards based on these three chips. Here's a look at all of ATI's proposed models, from $79 on up.
|Radeon X1300 HyperMemory||RV515||450||1000||32(128)||$79|
|Radeon X1300 Pro||RV515||600||800||256||$149|
|Radeon X1600 Pro||RV530||500||780||128||$149|
|Radeon X1600 Pro||RV530||500||780||256||$199|
|Radeon X1600 XT||RV530||590||1380||128||$199|
|Radeon X1600 XT||RV530||590||1380||256||$249|
|Radeon X1800 XL||R520||500||1000||256||$449|
|Radeon X1800 XT||R520||625||1500||256||$499|
|Radeon X1800 XT||R520||625||1500||512||$549|
That's pretty much a sweep, save for a gaping hole between $249 and $449 that could use some attention. Most of ATI's current Radeon lineup should go the way of the dodo once these cards filter out into the market in sufficient volume. Surely something will come along to replace the current Radeon X800 XL at $299-349, but we don't yet know what that will be.
ATI supplied us with four cards from its new lineup for review. Since we've only had a week and a half with the cards, we had to leave out the Radeon X1300 Pro. Our test suite for the other cards wouldn't be appropriate for the X1300 Pro or its competitors. We'll address it in a future review.
Further up the ladder, we have the Radeon X1600 XT. This card packs 256MB of RAM and 12 pixel pipes running at 590MHz for a price of $249. LCD fanatics, please note the dual DVI outputs. ATI says the X1600XT is a competitor for the GeForce 6600 GT, but that's not quite right for this card. The more direct competitor is probably the GeForce 6800, a 12-pipe card that's selling for $239 or sosometimes less. I expect that ATI's board partners will discount somewhat from the list price, so the comparison seems apt.
In the meaty part of the product lineup is the Radeon X1800 XL. This R520-based beast packs 256MB of memory and a 500MHz GPU clock. ATI's suggested list price on this puppy is $449. That would probably make its most direct competition the GeForce 7800 GT, although some 7800 GT cards can presently be found for under $400.
Finally, there's the Radeon X1800 XT. The XT rides on the same basic board design as the XL, but with a larger dual-slot cooler. The 512MB version, pictured above, will list at $549. That puts it into the high end of GeForce 7800 GTX territory. Word has it that NVIDIA is preparing a 512MB version of the 7800 GTX to go toe to toe with the Radeon X1800 XT, but we'll have to compare the 512MB Radeon X1800 XT to the 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX for now.
You may be wondering when these products will actually be available for purchase. All I can tell you right now is what ATI has told me, so let me hit you with the actual slide from the actual ATI presentation, with actual dates. Actually.
Three of the cards, including the X1800 XL, should be available today, if all goes according to plan. The rest are slated to arrive in November. ATI hasn't given us any projections about how broad or deep availability of these new cards will be, so we will have to wait and see about that. The red team's track record on product availability has been rocky in the past year or so, but perhaps this round will be different.
Doubling up on Radeon X1000 cards via CrossFire
Yes, the Radeon X1000 series will get its own version of CrossFire. We don't have too many details on it yet, but we do know several things. High-end X1000 CrossFire rigs will still require dedicated master cards and external DVI cables in order to work, but will support much higher display resolutionsup to 2048x1536 at 70Hz or better. The dual-link DVI output capabilities of the Avivo display engine will team up with a new, more powerful compositing chip on the master cards to make this happen. ATI says this compositing engine will also be fast enough to deliver CrossFire's SuperAA modes with no performance hit.
Meanwhile, the X1300 series may not even require master cards, because it will use PCI Express to pass data between two graphics cards, as can NVIDIA's low-end GPUs.
We don't yet have a definite ETA on X1800 or X1600 master cards, unfortunately, but ATI says they're on the way.