ATi in new pixel push

ATi is giving high-end gamers another chipset to choose from with the launch of its X1900 GPU family.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  February 6, 2006

ATi is giving high-end gamers another chipset to choose from with the launch of its X1900 GPU family. The new GPU line - also known as the R580 - is the latest addition to the Canadian firm’s X1000 series and is built using a 90nm (nanometer) manufacturing process. This GPU line also features full support for Shader Model 3.0 and will replace the older X1800 models. Four different cards will be released initially – the Radeon X1900 XTX, XT, CrossFire and All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 - with each featuring a different variation of the new GPU. At the top end, the Radeon X1900 XTX will feature a clock speed of 650MHz, while its maximum 512Mbytes of memory will run at 775MHz. On the flip side, All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 cards will run at core and memory speeds of 500MHz and 480MHz respectively. The All-In-Wonder targets users who desire both gaming and multimedia functionality and is equipped with a built-in TV tuner card and remote control. Support for CrossFire – ATi’s multi GPU technology – is present across the new line and ‘master’ cards will ship with core and memory speeds of 625MHz and 725MHz respectively. These cards essentially control Crossfire set-ups and can be paired with any other 1900 series card, after which CrossFire can be enabled via the card’s drivers. While users can mix different card variants, ATi recommends opting for identical boards so that both can function at full speed, rather than the faster card effectively waiting for the slower card to catch up. With the new GPU, ATi is focusing on pixel shader performance and has equipped the X1900 with no less than 48 pixel shaders. By comparison, the older X1800 features 16, while arch rival nVidia’s current high-end gaming GPU - the GeForce 7800GTX – features 24. Pixel shaders are used to apply special effects to graphics and textures, and ATi for one is convinced that focussing pixel shaders are the way forward. X1900 cards should be available in the region by the month’s end. XTX cards are expected to retail for $649, while the XT, CrossFire and All-In-Wonder cards should be priced $549, $599 and $500 respectively.

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