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  (Source: Amazon)

  (Source: Amazon)
AMD's newest is an alternative to NVIDIA's last generation high-end

Hot on the heels of NVIDIA's GTX 200 family launch, AMD will introduce its 55nm RV770-based Radeon 4850 next week. 

The Radeon 4850 features a 625 MHz core clock and GDDR3 clock in excess of 2000MHz. Corporate documentation explains that the 480 stream processors on the RV770 processor offer considerable enhancements over the 320 stream processors found in the RV670 core, though AMD memos reveal little about how this is accomplished.

The RV770 includes all the bells and whistles of the RV670 launched in November 2007: Shader Model 4.0, OpenGL 2.0, and DirectX 10.1.  The only major extension addition appears to be the addition of "Game Physics processing" -- indicating a potential platform for AMD's recent partnership with Havok.

The new Radeon lacks GDDR5 memory, promised by an AMD announcement just weeks ago. Although the RV770 does support GDDR5 memory, this initial launch consists exclusively of GDDR3 components.  AMD documentation hints at the launch of a Radeon 4870 later this summer, but it offered no comment on when it will eventually ship a GDDR5 product.

If Radeon 4850 sounds familiar, that's because it is. The RV770-based FireStream 9250, just announced a few days ago, broke the 1 teraflops barrier using the same graphics core.  However, this paper-launched workstation card will retail for more than $900 when it finally hits store shelves.  The mainstream Radeon 4850 offerings will ship and launch on the same day next week.

AMD partners claim the new card will not compete against the $600 GTX 200 just announced yesterday. Instead, AMD pits the Radeon 4850 against the recently re-priced NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX.  Distributors claim the 4850 will see prices as low as $199 at launch -- well under the $299 MSRP for GeForce 9800 GTX.  More expensive versions of RV770 will feature HDMI, audio pass-through and possibly the fabled Qimonda GDDR5 memory.

Specifications from Diamond Multimedia marketing material claim the new Radeon will require a 450 Watt power supply for single card support; or 550 Watt power for CrossFire mode.

Update 06/09/2008: As of this morning, AMD has lifted the embargo on its 4850 graphics cards. AMD's newest documentation claims the RV770 processor contains 800 shaders, but the card is not expected to show up on store shelves before the planned June 25 launch date.

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By DeepBlue1975 on 6/17/2008 1:37:02 PM , Rating: -1
AMD is settling for a 2nd place in every single market they are into.
If they want to regain reputation and recapture some of the lost customer loyalty, they should aim seriously for the high end / high profit market. Though the highest end market is a very low volume one, it is the one that better and faster helps a hardware company to build a highly praised image.

RE: Seems...
By Lightning III on 6/17/2008 1:53:45 PM , Rating: 5
80 Percent of the performance at less than half the price seems they are doing just fine by me.

At 199 this will be the best bang for the buck card till the 4870 comes out.

RE: Seems...
By deeznuts on 6/17/2008 2:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
Is this really going to be $199? Damn Xbox or upgrade my computer/video card? I want to play Bioshock and Mass Effect now!

Getting nehalem in the winter. So I might as well wait for then, and just get a 360 I guess.

Hey, does anyone remmeber the anandtech or other article a few years back, where nvidia and ATI both said that there will be one or two generations of all out performance and power usage, but then the next phase will be power reduction and efficiency? Has that started yet? will it ever start?

RE: Seems...
By ChronoReverse on 6/17/2008 2:17:58 PM , Rating: 4
Nvidia went performance while ATI went power reduction this round.

That's why Nvidia has the undisputed high-end

RE: Seems...
By SavagePotato on 6/17/2008 5:56:52 PM , Rating: 1
That may not be the case.

Initial estimates were that the 4870x2 will be 1.25x faster than the 9800gx2.

If that holds true then ATI will hold the performance crown, and do it for less than the cost of the gtx280 by far.

RE: Seems...
By AnnihilatorX on 6/17/2008 6:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
4870x2 is just 2 4870s together. And I believe 4870s will sell at a bit less than half the price of GTX280 initially, until Nvidia drops the price which it will have to if that's the case.

RE: Seems...
By ChronoReverse on 6/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Seems...
By decapitator666 on 6/18/2008 6:13:23 PM , Rating: 3
at the cost of a new car?

RE: Seems...
By ChronoReverse on 6/19/2008 1:47:47 PM , Rating: 1
Obviously the point is that Nvidia can still claim to have _the_ fastest solution regardless of how expensive or impractical it is.

Of course, those who downrated my comment either completely missed that or are Nvidia types who just downrate anything that bashes the GTX280 (and its power consumption at load).

RE: Seems...
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/17/2008 7:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I think so, but that was not the point of my previous post.

Not the majority of the market analyze what is the best bang for the buck, they just ask some "tech savvy" what's best and usually that "tech savvy guy" will point him towards the brand that has the better reputation out there in the high end market, even if he's advising the other guy to buy a mainstream product.

RE: Seems...
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 5
Which cards do you think sell more? Ones that are $400-650 or ones that are $200-300? Now ask me which you think AMD will be able to make more money off of. Yes having the top performing cards gives you bragging rights. But bragging rights don't keep you in business.

Besides, I think most people are more about having a gaming PC that they can sit next to without going deaf or requiring a cooling suit to bear than having an extra 5 FPS.

RE: Seems...
By FITCamaro on 6/17/2008 2:23:45 PM , Rating: 5
Also an OEM is far more likely to use your card in their system when its a) cheaper and b) uses less power.

RE: Seems...
By ChronoReverse on 6/17/2008 2:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it also depends on how much it costs to make the cards.

The 4850 has GDDR3 and a 256bit memory interface. It's also a relatively small chip. This means it should be quite profitable for AMD to sell them at $200.

On the other hand, the G92 9800GTX, while also using GDDR3 and 256bit memory interface, is a larger chip and thus costs more for Nvidia to make. Performance also looks to be similar to the 4850 (not at all confirmed).

RE: Seems...
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/19/2008 11:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
You don't get the point.
I'm talking about marketing strategies. Highest end products are not about sales volume, they can give the selling brand an image of leadership in the market which you don't get with high volume, low cost, low profit products. That doesn't mean a company should stop making low end products, my point was that they shouldn't forget the image-building high end market because, not having a strong presence there, hurts market share in the long run.
And OEMs usually tend to team up with the market's leading brands (remember "Intel inside" campaign? I thought so).
If a brand settles for mid to low end parts only for a long period, they end up being taken for a low quality, not trustworthy brand in the mind of the public.

You probably know that flagship products are not as much about selling them as they are about publicity and bragging rights for the brand that produces them.

I for myself usually get mainstream products for my machine except for some specific parts (mobo, psu, keyboard, mouse), and as for video performance, I couldn't care less as I almost don't play games any more. But then again, I'm not talking about what I buy or would buy, but instead about a brand's public image.

RE: Seems...
By ChronoReverse on 6/19/2008 1:49:56 PM , Rating: 3
With that said, ATI's strategy is that their high end card is the 4870x2. It's unfortunate that it's coming late but it is meant to go up against the GTX280.

ATI knew they were unlikely to be able to and also didn't engineer for a single chip to beat Nvidia but went for a (hopefully) scalable multi-GPU design from the start.

We'll see in a couple months whether this will be a win or not.

RE: Seems...
By Belard on 6/20/2008 5:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
Bragging rights (even if not true) can help sell product. Its the same with CPUs. Look at Intel and AMD. Since VIA KT-133A chipset and AMD XP CPUs, AMD had CPUs that were generally faster than Pentium 4 (other than video encoding) and with AMD64, they continued to murder the Netburst technology of Intel. Yet, AMD slowly gained market share while Intel continue to play BLUE-MAN group ADs about how much faster their CPUs were. At AMD best in the summer of 2006, AMD had about 20% of the market with NO TV ads. Pretty much any store you went to, AMD was actually selling quite well. Remember, the $250 AMD64 2.2Ghz CPU was able to play games and do typical office work faster than Intel's $1000 Extreme P4s 3.2Ghz. Core2 came out, it was very cheap, far less than the P4 line and AMD CPUs and faster. The respect and market gains of AMD fell through the floor. It sucks because not ALL AMD CPUs are slower than all Intel CPUs. At various price points and cost of Motherboard with on-board graphics - the AMD setup ends up costing a lot less than intel. The Core2 design is not so much faster over AMD compared to when AMD was on top of P4s.

AMD should have known there is only so much brand loyality a person will handle. I generally prefer AMD, and for most people - its a great chip & setup for the price... just not the fastest. They screwed up on the X4 CPUs and with the Motherboard makers by not making sure things were up to spec. So using an X4 AMD CPU may cause the latest motherboard to blow up! For low-end to mid/high end, AMD is a better deal. For overclocking and top-speed, intel... but you'll still pay for it.

Gigabyte AMD 770 : $80 = PCIe 2.0 slots, RAID, Firewire
Gigabyte intel P35 : $90 = PCIe 1.0 slots.
Gigabyte intel P35 : $120 = PCIe 1.0 slots, RAID
Gigabyte intel P35 : $180 = PCIe 1.0 w/ 2 16x slots (one is electrical 4x) - RAID, Firewire.

Gigabyte intel X48 : $225 = PCIe 1.0 slots (2 16x), RAID, Firewire, eSata (bracket)
Gigaybe AMD 790fx : $180 = PCIe 2.0 slots (2 16x), RAID, FW, eSata.

With that said, because the C2Q 6600 is $190 with a plain $100 board, its a BETTER deal than buying an AMD X4 CPU and will be my next purchase. I get a cheaper, faster and more reliable system. But I'll be looking at dropping in the AMD 4850 video card :)

Its no secret that selling in the $100~200 is the SWEET spot for the industry. yeah, they sell a whole lot of $50~100, but those are rarely gamers. Pretty much every video card I've bought has been $125~225.

I agree thou, its silly to spend an extra $1000~2000 to go from 80fps to 130fps on a 24" LCD monitor.

RE: Seems...
By Goty on 6/19/2008 1:44:53 AM , Rating: 2
High end and high profit don't go together. You might be surprised to know that ATI and NVIDIA both make a hell of a lot more money off of the midrange and entry level/integrated market than they do off of the high end.

RE: Seems...
By NuclearDelta on 6/19/2008 3:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
ATI recovery, I like it.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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