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 Alpha4 on 6/19/2008 6:04:18 PM , Rating: 0
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?
You're suggesting that the 3870x2 competed with Nvidia's 8800gtx, yet AMD didn't launch the X2 series until 11 months after the 8800gtx. Despite the extended life-cycle of Nvidia's G90 & G92 architechture, this still adds up to less than half the term of the 88xx's high-end status. To me that sounds like catching up, not competing.

Based on AMD's current roadmap, the 4870X2 isn't scheduled for release until "Early 2009". Taking that into consideration, and unless the 4870 outperforms the 4850 by a %75 margin, we're still looking at a minimum 6 month gap where the GTX 280 will retain its high-end status. If your suggestion that ATI's product cycle involves a new archtechture every year is true, than they are more than half a product-cycle behind Nvidia in the High-End Market.
In that regard AMD/ATI is still playing catch-up.

Incidentally the gap between Nvidia's product refresh is likely to be more narrow than that of AMD's update.

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.

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