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.