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8/14/01 Tuesday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page

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ATI Radeon II Details - Radeon 7500, 8500 and 8800:
Published: 8/14/2001, 12:02 AM
(Updated 1:55 PM for additional related links/tests/articles)

UPDATE: For those that do not check the daily www.xlr8yourmac.com news page or the Video articles page, I posted reviews/tests of the OEM (BTO Apple store only) Radeon 7500 Mac and (retail) Radeon 8500 Mac edition cards in early 2002.

As of spring 2002, there is no retail Radeon 7500 mac edition, it's only an option at the Apple store on new G4 towers. (The 8500 Mac Edition AGP card is shipping to retailers as of late March 2002.)


(Comments/info below is from the original August 2001 posting)
Shortly after midnight today (8/14/2002) I received press releases from ATI on their next-generation Radeon graphics cards. There are 3 models, the value priced 7500 (PC), the 8500 (midrange) and 8800 (OpenGL/workstations). The Radeon 8500 will be available for the Mac as well as PCs and expected to ship in mid-September (PC model - Mac model started shipping in late March 2002). The 8500 (only model slated so far for Macs) is reported to have a 250MHz core clock speed with 64MB of 275MHz DDR video RAM. Note the Radeon 8500 is noted has having dual monitor support. The Radeon 7500 is expected to be PC only, with basically a Radeon 1 core with a die shrink, running 270MHz core clock with 64MB of 230MHz DDR video RAM. (The current Radeon Mac edition runs 166Mhz core and DDR RAM clocks.) At $199 list, I wish the 7500 version was also offered for the Mac.

[Below the press releases are other related links and articles on the new cards.]


" FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday August 14, 2001

ATI unveils next generation graphics processors: world's most powerful and innovative graphics family

Company takes performance leadership in PC graphics industry

MARKHAM, Ontario - ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT), a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions, announced today it has taken performance leadership in the PC graphics industry with the introduction of its next generation RADEON(tm) processors, the world's most powerful and innovative family of graphics chip and board technologies offering the ultimate in pure gaming power, 3D quality of the highest order and unparalleled price-performance.

Building on the performance leadership demonstrated by its second-generation RADEON chip and board technologies announced today, and founded on the heritage of its first-generation RADEON products, ATI's new family of graphics processors delivers unprecedented performance for both enthusiast and mainstream computing, offering consumers the most complete range of solutions available from any graphics manufacturer in the world.

"Today's introduction of our revolutionary, new RADEON family of graphics processors is proof-positive of our ability to deliver on our strategy that calls for technology leadership, improving market share leadership and absolute customer acceptance of ATI's value," said David Orton, President & Chief Operating Officer, ATI Technologies Inc. "ATI is breaking new ground in high-performance gaming, mainstream 3D visual effects and mid-range workstation content development capability, while establishing a new standard for power, quality and value in every category in our industry."

The new RADEON graphics processor family consists of three category-leading products:

  • RADEON(tm) 8500: Designed with the most advanced graphics technology in the world, the RADEON 8500 delivers up to 33 percent higher performance than the nearest competitive graphics processor (1). Major technological advancements include TRUFORM(tm), an innovative rendering technology that helps to deliver the smoothest, most natural 3D images ever seen on existing and next-generation 3D games; and SMARTSHADER(tm), an advanced technology that takes advantage of the new Microsoft DirectX 8.1 API (application programming interface) to enable more complex and realistic texture and lighting effects without sacrificing performance, including supporting Pixel Shaders Version 1.4.

  • RADEON(tm) 7500: This graphics processor offers an ideal combination of performance, innovative 3D features and real value for mainstream commercial and consumer computer users. It delivers up to a 60 percent improvement in performance compared to the previous generation of RADEON high-performance processors (2). The RADEON 7500 targets the performance mainstream, offering a level of performance not seen at its price point;

  • FIRE GL(tm) 8800: Combining the FIRE GL's pioneering workstation reputation and software excellence in OpenGL with ATI's new industry-leading technology, the FIRE GL 8800 is easily the most affordable mid-range 3D graphics board for CAD/CAM and the modeling and animation aspects of digital content and creation.

    RADEON(tm) 8500: The Ultimate Gaming Graphics Card

    The RADEON 8500 is powered by the most advanced graphics technology in the world, and features 64MB of DDR (double data rate) memory, digital flat panel (DVI) support as well as dual monitor and video output, and DVD (digital versatile disc) video playback. The first gaming card with complete hardware support for DirectX 8.1, the RADEON 8500 will be available in late September and has an MSRP of (US) $399.

    "The RADEON 8500 clearly positions ATI as the technology and performance leader in the enthusiast segment of the PC desktop market, providing an unequalled visual experience for games," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President of Marketing & General Manager, Desktop Business, ATI Technologies Inc. "The RADEON 8500 moves our industry's objective of bringing full visual reality to the PC and Mac platforms a quantum step forward."

    "With the TRUFORM and SMARTSHADER components of the RADEON 8500 graphics chip, combined with the DirectX 8.1 environment that will first be available in the Windows XP operating system, game developers can produce more visually innovative and complex 3D computer graphics including higher order surfaces without hindering performance," said Channing Verbeck, Director of Windows Graphics and Gaming Technologies at Microsoft Corp. "We look forward to continuing to work with innovators like ATI that utilize the ground-breaking features in DirectX 8.1, such as the improved pixel shaders, to help bring the game development community the best platform for next generation Windows-based PC games."

    "Beyond what ATI's RADEON 8500 will do in the way of offering a great 3D platform for next-generation games is what it will do for current games through its innovative TRUFORM technology," said Mark Dochtermann, Technical Director, MumboJumbo. "When playing Myth III on TRUFORM-enabled 3D hardware, the Myrkridia, Trow and other units look much more natural and realistic than ever before, bringing gamers one giant step closer to experiencing full visual reality with this graphics chip."

    RADEON(tm) 7500: The Performance Mainstream Graphics Board

    The RADEON 7500 brings premium-level features to the mainstream market. Coming standard with dual-monitor support, including VGA (video graphics array) and digital flat panel (DVI) displays and integrated TV-out, low power and acoustic levels and proven technologies, the RADEON 7500 features 64MB DDR. Available in late September, it has an MSRP of (US) $199.

    "The lion's share of the market for graphics products is represented by mainstream users who are looking for a combination of price and performance, yet with features that enhance visual reality - and ATI has hit the mark better than anyone else historically; and it looks like history will repeat itself with ATI's latest offering, the RADEON 7500," said Dr. Jon Peddie, President, Jon Peddie Associates. "With memory bandwidth up to 8.8GB/sec, performance that has only been seen on the current generation of high-performance boards, the RADEON 7500 packs a lot of punch for a mainstream price."

    "RADEON 7500 builds on the strength of the original, award winning RADEON technology," said Jewelle Schiedel-Webb, Director, Product Marketing, Desktop Marketing, ATI Technologies Inc. "The overall value proposition associated with the RADEON 7500 - processor speed, 3D performance and price - is unparalleled."

    FIRE GL(tm) 8800: The Mid-range Workstation Solution

    The FIRE GL 8800 combines the extensive and proven workstation experience of the FIRE GL brand with the leading edge technology of the RADEON 8800 chip to offer workstation users a fully-featured, economically-priced, mid-range workstation solution. Featuring 64MB DDR memory and VGA and DVI support, the FIRE GL 8800 is optimized for superior application performance using OpenGL and Linux drivers. It is the first workstation graphics processor in the industry to support the Microsoft DirectX 8.1 API. It begins shipping in October.

    "The FIRE GL 8800 provides ATI with a fully-featured, mid-range workstation graphics board to complement its recently introduced high-performance FIRE GL 4 processor," said Ian Cartwright, Vice President & General Manager, Workstation Products, ATI Technologies Inc. "This newest addition to the FIRE GL line will redefine the price versus performance value proposition. In addition, it offers ATI customers and technology partners a high-performance workstation product that is fully capable of supporting the most intensive CAD/CAM and digital content and creation requirements."

    "The market for workstation products based on Intel processors and Microsoft operating systems has grown steadily since the original introduction of these technologies in 1996, so much so that this market has become the mainstream segment where most workstation computing is done," said Pia Rieppo, Principal Analyst, Workstations, Gartner Dataquest. "Today, the 3D capabilities of these widely-used platforms have been considerably enhanced, such that intricate CAD/CAM and digital content creation applications - considered far too complex for these workman-like products just a few years ago - are now possible at attractive price points."

    (1) Based on 3DMark 2001 benchmark tests performed in July 2001. For more information on the benchmarking process, visit www.MadOnion.com

    (2) Based on 3DwinBench benchmark tests performed in July 2001. For more information on the benchmarking process, visit www.ZDNet.com


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Tuesday August 14, 2001
    ATI introduces RADEON(tm) 8500, the world's fastest, most advanced technology graphics board

    RADEON(tm) 8500 offers best visual effects, unsurpassed gaming performance, and is first chip to fully support Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 specification MARKHAM, Ontario - ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT), a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions, today introduced the RADEON(tm) 8500, the world's fastest and most technologically advanced graphics board and the foundation for ground-breaking visual effects -- affording consumers an unsurpassed 3D gaming experience.

    The RADEON 8500 graphics board, powered by the most advanced graphics processor chip in the world, delivers up to 33 percent higher performance than the nearest competitive product (1). It features a core clock speed of 250 MHz (megahertz), memory clock speed of 275 MHz and 64MB (megabytes) of DDR (double data rate) memory. Available in late September, it has an MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) of (US) $399.

    "The RADEON 8500 clearly positions ATI as the technology and performance leader. Enthusiasts will find an unequalled visual experience in the RADEON 8500," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Desktop Marketing, ATI Technologies Inc. "With the RADEON 8500 GPU (graphics processing unit), the industry moves a quantum step forward, towards full visual reality on the PC and Macintosh platforms."

    Major technological advancements include TRUFORM(tm), an innovative rendering technology that helps to deliver the smoothest, most natural 3D images ever seen on existing and next-generation 3D games; and SMARTSHADER(tm), an advanced technology that takes advantage of Microsoft's new DirectX 8.1 specification, including supporting Pixel Shaders Version 1.4 to enable more complex and realistic texture and lighting effects without sacrificing performance.

    "Beyond what ATI's RADEON 8500 will do in the way of offering a great 3D platform for next-generation games is what it will do for current games through its innovative TRUFORM technology," said Mark Dochtermann, Technical Director, MumboJumbo. "When playing Myth II on TRUFORM-enabled 3D hardware, the Myrkridia, Trow and other units look much more natural and realistic than ever before, bringing gamers one giant step closer to experiencing full visual reality with this graphics chip."

    DirectX 8.1 is an integral part of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system, due to ship this Fall. All the features available on the DirectX platform will also be available under OpenGL(r).

    "We are entering the next generation of GPUs and ATI's RADEON 8500 has the features to be a leader in the graphics market," said Dr. Jon Peddie, President, Jon Peddie Associates, the leading market research company tracking digital media. "The pent-up demand for the programmability and range of control found in TRUFORM and SMARTSHADER is enormous and this new technology will empower a whole new class of amazing, realistic games and visualization applications."

    Also underpinning RADEON 8500's industry-leading visual effects and multimedia capabilities are the following technologies:

    HYPERZ(tm) II, a next-generation memory bandwidth saving technology, that boosts rendering performance by 25 percent;

    [Note: There's an interesting comparison to the GeForce3's cross-bar memory design in the 8500 FAQ linked below. Here's a clip from the FAQ-Mike]

      " Like HYPERZ(tm) II, Nvidia has a “Lightspeed Memory Architecture” that optimizes memory bandwidth. Both HYPERZTM II and Lightspeed offer lossless Z-buffer compression. Both technologies attempt to discard polygons that are occluded by other polygons (a process called “occlusion culling”). In this respect, HYPERZ(tm) II is far superior. HYPERZ(tm) II saves the GPU from rendering over 14 billion pixels per second, while it is estimated Lightspeed only discards 3.2 billion. Fast Z Clear has no counterpart in Nvidia’s Lightspeed architecture. "

    CHARISMA ENGINE(tm) II, which supports full transform, clipping and lighting (T&L) at 62.5 million triangles/second peak processing capability;

    PIXEL TAPESTRY(tm) II, the RADEON 8500's 3D rendering engine, which uses four rendering pipelines to process an incredible 2 gigatexels per second for the highest fill rates in 32-bit color at high resolutions;

    HydraVision (tm, ATI's world-leading, multi-monitor desktop management software optimizes the dual display experience with user controllable shortcut keys and individual application settings. The RADEON 8500 takes advantage of HydraVision with its integrated dual display controllers, enabling true dual monitor support, for the first time in a high-performance gaming product;

    VIDEO IMMERSION(tm) II, a second-generation technology that enables integration of industry-leading digital video features, including DVD (digital versatile disc) video playback and advanced de-interlacing algorithms for unprecedented video quality.

    "We are at the dawn of a new era in the 3D PC market with the introduction of the RADEON 8500. The game development community will finally be able to create games that closely mirror photo realism," explained Toshi Okumura, Senior Product Manager, Desktop Marketing, ATI Technologies Inc. "Not only will the RADEON 8500 offer the world's fastest gaming experience, but the new technologies integrated in this GPU will enable visually compelling gaming encounters. The RADEON 8500 clearly positions ATI as the performance and technology leader in the PC graphics market."

    Company Background
    Founded in 1985, ATI Technologies Inc. is a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions for the personal computer and Mac platforms. The pioneer, innovator and market leader in the graphics industry, ATI provides cutting-edge technologies for the PC, workstation, set-top box, game console and other consumer appliances markets. The Company has more than 1,900 employees supporting customers from its headquarters in Markham, Ontario, Canada, as well as from offices in Barbados, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States. ATI common shares trade on NASDAQ (ATYT) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (ATY). "

  • Related Links and Articles: [Updated 1:55PM for Anandtech's preview]
    ATI's web site now has several items on the new cards

    (It's too bad there's no Mac 7500 model planned, as the price/performance seems very attractive.)

    Early Card Performance Previews: These articles include performance and comparisons to the GeForce3, etc. based on pre-release cards (silicon/chip revisons) and drivers. Consider that when evaluating the results shown.

  • PC site Anandtech has a Preview of the Radeon 8500 and 7500 that includes the most game title tests I've seen to date. (Includes pages on FSAA, TrueForm support, etc. as well as tests of Unreal Tournament, Counterstrike, Black & White, as well as the expected Quake3.) The review also commented that the new Radeons will be competing with new cards from Nvidia (by the time the new Radeon cards ship there's expected to be a lower cost Geforce3MX version for instance). The competition is going to get really interesting this holiday season. (Throw in the Xbox also which might be what some buyers choose, which I read may have a 4 week manufacturing delay if this Cnet story is true.)

  • GameSpot's Meet the New Radeon includes clear descriptions of ATI's memory bandwidth reduction techniques (HyperZ/Hierarchical Z) and how their FSAA ("Smoothvision") differs from NVidia's "Quincunx" (GeForce3).

  • ExtremeTech's Tests of New Radeons

  • PC Site Tom's hardware has a preview of the new Radeon using a pre-production card and drivers. (server very busy currently.)
    One of the pages in that article claims that Nvidia has a (PC only) Detonator4 driver update that boosts GeForce3 performance significantly in some tests/games, but was slower in others (29% slower in Giants). [Better details on the Detonator4 drivers and it's new OpenGL 1.3 ICD are at this Anandtech page.] It may have been rushed out to counter the new Radeon announcement basically. That page also commented that the new Radeon's silicon may not be finalized yet. This may be a factor in the Quake3 performance tests. In the VillageMark triple-texturing test however, the Radeon 8500 was significantly faster than the GeForce3.

    Remember those tests were with a non-production card and pre-release drivers. See Tom's comments on the Summary page of the article. The Radeon cards he used were not fully functional and those final comments made me feel a lot better about the Radeon 8500's potential than just looking at the early card's test results.

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