AMD's long awaited R600 DX10 GPU finally arrives
It has been a long time coming but today AMD is finally set to release its massively anticipated GPU codenamed R600 XT to the world with the official retail name of ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT. It is a hugely important part for AMD right now, who recently posted massive profit loss figures. It is counting on all these new models, along with the high-end 512MB DDR-3 DX10 part with 512-bit memory interface to kick ass and help raise revenue reports against the current range from the green GeForce team, which is selling like super hot cakes.
The new R600 range of graphics processing units was set to see a release on March 30 (R600 XTX) but due to production issues and lack of decisiveness to make any firm decisions, it got delayed and delayed. It was beginning to look like AMD would let down its loyal fan base; some even began suggesting the R600 was vaporware. That would have shaken up the industry immensely and thankfully for all, that did not happen. AMD is finally able to introduce some competition to Nvidia's GeForce lineup of cards with its new series of DX10 and Windows Vista ready products.
Eventually the folks at AMD got their act together and made some clear-cut decisions and got production issues under control and underway - probably due to indecisiveness between using GDDR-3 or GDDR-4 and associated cost vs. performance concerns. It was eventually leaked out to the world that the R600 XTX (the highest end model) would be reserved for system integrators due to its size and heat related issues - you may or may not see this GPU in OEM systems from companies like Dell and HP. That model will measure a staggering 12-inches long and probably will not be suitable for every computer case or configuration. It was deemed unacceptable for the consumer retail space and hence was scrapped from all plans.
Today AMD is launching an enthusiast part HD 2900 series with the HD 2900 XT, performance parts with the HD 2600 series including HD 2600 XT and HD 2600 PRO, along with value parts including HD 2400 XT and 2400 PRO. The HD 2600 and 2400 series have had issues of their own and you will need to wait a little longer before being able to buy these various models on shop shelves (July 1st). The HD 2900 XT will be available at most of your favorite online resellers as of today. Quantity is "not too bad" but a little on the short side with most of AMD's partners only getting between 400 - 600 units which is not that much considering the huge number of ATI fans out there. You may want to get in quick and place your order, if you are interested - some AIB companies are not sure when they will get in their next order, too.
Our focus today is solely on the HD 2900 XT 512MB GDDR-3 graphics card - it is the first GPU with a fast 512-bit memory interface but what does this mean for performance? While it is AMD's top model right now, it is actually priced aggressively at around the US$350 - US$399 mark in United States, which puts it price wise up against Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB. After taking a look at the GPU and the card from PowerColor as well as some new Ruby DX10 screenshots, we will move onto the benchmarks and compare the red hot flaming Radeon monster against Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTX along with the former ATI GPU king, the Radeon X1950 XTX.