Print 89 comment(s) - last by Schrag4.. on Jun 20 at 12:16 PM

  (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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RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By jarman on 6/18/2008 5:48:25 PM , Rating: -1
Yeah, who cares about pushing the performance envelope right? I'm sure that AMD would have offered this card whether or not Nvidia was owning the high-end huh?

Stop drinking the cool-aid kid. AMD is competing in the mid-range market because it has no choice . That is the only market that its cards can perform in. The only reason you have an update to the 3800 series in the first place is because Nvidia's development/manufacturing cycle is making them.

For any of your comments regarding how AMD is making better decisions with its placement of discrete cards in other markets, please review AMD's last quarter results with nVidia's. I assure you that even the highest-priced nVidia cards that you deride in your post are profitable, and profitable enough to push volume in the high-end market.

Neither AMD nor nVidia really give a crap about your in-game experience. They give a crap about the expectations of their stockholders, like every other corporation. Gamers only benefit when those expectations align with better in-game experiences when there is real competition in the market. Unfortunately, with every AMD product refresh we begin to move further away from that alignment (how long was the 8800 GTX the pest performing card on the market again?).

RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By Goty on 6/19/2008 1:36:28 AM , Rating: 5
Who's drinking the kool-aid now? AMD is launching a new card because *gasp* it's in their product cycle! A new architecture released a year after the previous one? It's unheard of!

As for your claims that ATI can only compete in the mid-range, what did you call the HD3870X2? What do you call the HD4850, a midrange card that performs with the 9800GTX using a die smaller than an American dime. What are you going to call the HD4870X2 that, as I've said before, should by all indicators outperform the GTX 280 by a healthy margin?

RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By Alpha4 on 6/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By NullSubroutine on 6/20/2008 6:35:34 AM , Rating: 3
I dont know if you are smoking something or just plain spreading FUD but the 4870 X2 (aka R700) will be released 8 weeks after the 4870, which is June 25th. So that places it in Aug.

They are waiting to get the drivers right before the launch but I have already seen benchmarks run on current drivers and its beating the GTX 280.

By Alpha4 on 6/20/2008 11:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
Just curious, where did you read about the 4870x2 release date? Or even the 4870 at that? The article says "AMD documentation hints at the launch of a Radeon 4870 later this summer".

I'll try to provide links later where I read about the 4870x2 release date. I'm @ work at the moment unfortunately.

RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By jarman on 6/19/2008 6:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Tell me how that "product cycle" has influenced AMD's earnings over the last two quarters as compared to nVidia's...

By Goty on 6/20/2008 1:39:22 AM , Rating: 2
Gee, that's a little hard to say, isn't it, since the product didn't launch in the last two quarters?

RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By Lightnix on 6/19/2008 2:40:38 PM , Rating: 3
The 4850 costs well under half the price of the GTX280 ($200 vs. $649) and two of them in crossfire seem to beat the GTX280 by a reasonable margin in a fair amount of scenarios. The 4870 X2 will be just this, but clocked higher on the core and much higher on the memory (GDDR5). AMD are planning on competing in the high end, just with two small cores rather than one huge one.

RE: Over $300 makes a video card irrelevant
By just4U on 6/19/2008 9:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I don't really factor Crossfire in myself. I just look at the card see that it's on par and beating the 9800GTX with a smaller footprint at the $200 price point and think ... Hmmmmmmm :)

I was very pleased with Ati and Nvidia when they had their respective launches this past Nov/Dec. Those mid range cards kicked things into high gear and you can tell that both companies made money off of it. Im glad that Amd has decided to continue the trend because that's where the profits are!

By Schrag4 on 6/20/2008 12:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
Agree about not factoring in Crossfire. If you're the type that will have dual cards in your system, then price really doesn't matter, right? Am I way off here? Can't you get more performance from putting a single, higher-end card vs buying 2 cheap cards? Which means the only people with multiple cards have 2 very high end cards (and don't care how much money they spend obviously).

As a real world example, I bought my NVidia 7800 GT almost 3 years ago for right around 300 bucks. I *could* put a second card in my machine, but I would see much improved performance if I just scrapped the 7800 and got a card that's 2 generations newer. And no, I'm not going to spend between 400 and 1300 bucks for a dual card solution. If I had that kind of money I wouldn't be using a 7800GT still today, would I...

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