Size matters to ATi

While most users have PCs that feature between 256MB and 512MB of RAM, ATi has paired up its X800 XL GPU with a staggering 512MB of graphics memory.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  May 5, 2005

In a bid to draw the attention of gamers, ATi has this week cranked up the RAM on offer with its Radeon X800 XL graphics card. While the Radeon X800 XL GPU is not really a new introduction (it hit this region in January) it has only been available prior to now with 256MB of onboard memory. The idea behind the move is to help boost performance when playing texture-rich games at high-resolution. “New games are intensely realistic and graphics-heavy and the Radeon X800 XL 512MB is designed to maximise their impact by delivering amazing visual quality and performance,” said Rich Heye, vice president and general manager, Desktop Discrete Products, ATi Technologies Inc. “With the Radeon X800 XL 512MB, gamers will be able to max-out their image quality settings and render highly realistic images without having to compromise on performance,” he added. Game development houses such as BioWare, Crytek and id Software are already said to be tailoring their games to take advantage of the extra memory. 512MB cards will definitely be future proof and should tackle tomorrow’s games with ease. For the moment however, games already on the market and those that are in the later stages of development are still designed with either 128MB or 256MB of memory in mind. As a result, the potential short-term benefits of buying 512MB cards are somewhat limited. What is also quite a surprise is ATi’s decision to pair the 512MB of memory with the X800 XL GPU, as this GPU is designed primarily for use in mid-level graphics cards. While 256MB X800 XL cards are very aggressively priced locally - between $299 and $350 - cards with this extra 256MB will most likely cost over $400, pushing this package into the high-end price segment. 512MB cards are, for the moment, only available with the PCI Express interface, and to cope with the added memory ATi has also had to tack on a power connector (whereas the 256MB cards draw power directly from the PCI Express or AGP slot). Taiwanese based Info-Tek has already announced its own GeCube card pairing up the X800 XL GPU and 512MB of memory. This should be available in the region in the coming months. 256MB cards should still be available from all major video card manufacturers for those users after a mid-range card that offers the ultimate bang for your buck.

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