Print 18 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Nov 9 at 11:43 AM

Sapphire Radeon HD 2900 GT  (Source: Sapphire)
ATI quietly launches HD 2900 GT, only Sapphire seems to be selling

ATI and NVIDIA are locked once again in the ongoing battle for your graphics card dollars. ATI hasn’t been much of a threat to NVIDIA's market dominance recently and many don’t see that changing.

DailyTech reported a few weeks ago that ATI/AMD claimed a 17.5% share of the discrete graphics market, well behind NVIDIA. With NVIDIAs recent release of the 8800 GT that performs well and carries a low cost firmly in the realm of possibility for most gamers many were waiting for ATI’s counter to the 8800 GT.

ATI quietly counter-launched the new Radeon HD 2900 GT graphics card. So quietly, in fact, that the new card cannot even be found on ATI’s website without some detective work. A quick look at popular online ATI resellers shows no listings for the HD 2900 GT and a look at usual ATI card partners only shows the card listed on Sapphire’s website.

Sapphire claims the HD 2900 GT has 700 million transistors and is built on 80nm fabrication and has a 256-bit 4-channel GDDR3 memory interface. The unified superscalar shader architecture has 240 stream processing units and the card is fully DirectX 10 compliant.

Sapphire provides a long list of other features for the HD 2900 GT. Like other HD 2900 series graphics cards, the GT has the onboard 5.1 surround sound card allowing HDMI to carry video and sound. The core frequency for the 2900 GT is 600 MHz and the memory frequency is 1600 MHz. Sapphire declined to comment on pricing or availability.

NVIDIA had its own silent launch as well, the GeForce 8800 GTS SSC.  This limitted volume card unlocks 112 stream processors as opposed to the 96 found on other GeForce 8800 GTS cards.  More GeForce 8800-series replacements are soon to follow as well.

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Seems not to be brand new
By Felix on 11/8/2007 4:43:46 PM , Rating: 4
This card seems to be available from a lot of vendors for quite a while:

The Austrian pricing site lists this product at least since October 20.

RE: Seems not to be brand new
By KoreyJ on 11/8/2007 6:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
It looks like NewEgg also has the card available.

Sapphire version

HIS version

I might consider getting this card for the new build I'm putting together for the girlfriend. But as of now, the HD 2600XT is the card I'm aiming for. The performance is good for the price. And I really don't want to spend over $125.

RE: Seems not to be brand new
By Haltech on 11/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Seems not to be brand new
By noirsoft on 11/8/2007 9:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not at all:

let's take the largest standard resolution for a single output: 1920 x 1200

That's 2,304,000 pixels. At 4 bytes per pixel (32-bit color) and double-buffering gives 18,432,000 bytes for the frame buffer. That's only 1/14 of the total memory on the card.

Memory has not been the bottleneck for playing at high resolutions in a long time. Fill rate / pixel shader pipelines has been. Memory is key for lots of high-resolution textures, though, so your statement is more accurately said as "good luck playing at high detail modes"

RE: Seems not to be brand new
By defter on 11/9/2007 5:46:42 AM , Rating: 2
And when you apply 4xFSAA, your framebuffer size will grow significantly...

RE: Seems not to be brand new
By retrospooty on 11/9/2007 11:43:23 AM , Rating: 4
This is a mid range card that really isnt capable of playing at 1900x1200 at 4xaa at a decent playable framerate, not on any newer game. 256 is perfect for a mid range card like this.

Not Impressed
By TheDiceman on 11/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Not Impressed
By RamarC on 11/8/2007 6:10:48 PM , Rating: 3
but at a price of only $175, the 2900gt is priced right when compared to the 8800gt. and it should force the 8600gts to drop to the $120 price range. unfortunately for ati, a low cost 8600gts kills the hd2600 series (which was pretty wimpy to begin with).

RE: Not Impressed
By mmntech on 11/8/2007 6:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think the whole DirectX 10 line from both companies (particularly ATI though) came out with a whimper, particularly at the mid range, which is where this card is. You don't see the fierce competition across the range that there used to be after the Radeon 9000 series came out.
NCIX is selling this card under the HIS brand for $180 CAD. Considerably cheaper than the 8800GT. However, they're currently out of stock.

I don't usually like ATI but this might be a nice replacement for my system at that price.

RE: Not Impressed
By Kougar on 11/8/2007 8:04:38 PM , Rating: 1
Well, you are looking in the wrong place! The HD 3850/3870 cards are going to be 55nm R600s with higher clocks, not to mention priced to undercut the 256/512mb 8800GT cards.

2900 GT and 8800 GTS SSC
By Martimus on 11/8/2007 4:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
The two boards are probably just the left over G80/R600 chips, with nVidia and ATI just trying to get rid of their inventory to make room for the new cards coming out later this month.

Are there any reviews on the 2900 GT planned? The 8800 GTS SSC was reviewed earlier by Hardware Canucks.

RE: 2900 GT and 8800 GTS SSC
By Makaveli on 11/8/2007 6:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing that looks appealing about this card is slapping 2 of them together in crossfire. For a single card solution I would choose the X2900Pro over this. And now that the 8800GT is out the pro is a hard choice, unless you have to stick with Ati for whatever reason.

By Felix on 11/8/2007 7:27:51 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Benchmarks
By theprodigalrebel on 11/8/2007 8:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
Comparing the 1280x1024 numbers, the resolution most likely run by potential buyers of this card:

Ties the X1950Pro everywhere with the following exceptions -

-X1950Pro wins in HL2:E2 by 35%
-2900GT wins in UT3 by 48%
-2900GT wins in Lost Planet-DX9 by 33%

Ties the 8600GTS everywhere with the following exceptions -
-2900GT wins in CoH-DX9 by 34%
-2900GT wins in WiC by 33%
-2900GT wins in UT3 by 38%
-2900GT wins in Lost Planet-DX9 by 11%

Bioshock and Crysis numbers are missing though. So definitely a step up from the 8600GTS and seems geared better for current/future games when compared to the X1950Pro. Not bad for $169, I think.

boo to ati
By foolish501 on 11/8/2007 4:42:04 PM , Rating: 1
no fanfare and mad rush like we had with the 8800gt !

RE: boo to ati
By clovell on 11/8/2007 4:44:39 PM , Rating: 1
Could be because they don't want to squander what hype they can muster when R670 is right around the corner...

Decent Buy
By Enigmatic on 11/8/2007 8:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
For around $170 I guess it seems alright. Not a steal but you're definitely not getting ripped off. If they priced this a little lower I think it would be much more competitive.

By spluurfg on 11/8/2007 10:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
When we end up with new video cards, would it be relevant to post details of sister-GPU's in the article? IE post clock speed/memory bus width/transistor count/stream processor count of the next most powerful and next less powerful ATI GPU? I know it's not a review, but that'd definitely give some context on the market placement.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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