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Old 01-04-05, 11:35 PM
PV5150 PV5150 is offline
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History of the ATI GPU

Hi Guys

I thought it would be interesting to do a guide covering the history of the ATI GPU. ATI users pls let me know if I have missed anything. I have intentionally left out the mobility radeons, if you want them included pls let me know.



Background

Founded by three Hong Kong immigrants, K.Y. Ho, Benny Lau and Lee Lau, it began as an OEM, producing integrated graphics chips for large PC manufacturers like IBM. However, by 1987 it had evolved into an independent graphics card retailer, marketing the EGA Wonder and VGA Wonder graphics cards under its own ATI moniker.

In 2000, ATI acquired ArtX, the company that engineered the "Flipper" graphics chip used in the Nintendo GameCube games console. They have also entered an agreement with Nintendo to create the chip for the successor of the GameCube, codenamed Revolution. ATI was contracted by Microsoft to create the graphics chip for Microsoft Xbox 2.

Its current President and CEO is David E. Orton (formerly of ArtX). K.Y. Ho remains as Chairman.

Graphics Chipsets

*Mach64 - Introduced in 1994, one of the first chips capable of smooth playback of MPEG movies without requiring an extra MPEG card. Later evolved into the 3D RAGE and 3D RAGE II, which included rudimentary 3D capabilities.

*All-In-Wonder Series - Launched in 1994 and unique to ATI, this multimedia video model line offers TV tuning, MPEG/DVD acceleration, and 3D gaming on a single card. Several models also include features such as HDTV encoding and digital TV tuning.

*Rage Pro - While poor 3D drivers made it lacklustre in gaming when it was launched in 1997, its low cost, 2D image quality and DVD performance made it a bestseller to OEMs, and its successors, the Rage 128 and Rage XL video chips, are still available in some machines. This was the first ATI chip to include a triangle setup engine, making it possible to support OpenGL in hardware.

*Rage Fury MAXX - Launched 1999, this was ATI's first and last foray into dual-chip videocards. Despite possessing twin Rage 128 Pro processors, it was plagued with driver issues and lukewarm performance.

Radeon Series

DirectX 7

The first Radeon processors were launched in 2000, and were initially code-named Rage 6, later R100. They were specified similar to the nVidia GeForce 2, mainly being different in supporting HyperZ, a technology designed to remove obscured objects from image processing. However, the Radeon's performance in 16-bit colour was poor (especially compared to the GeForce 2 and 3dfx's Voodoo 5 5500), and it suffered from lower pixel and texel fillrates (though HyperZ was able to make up for this to some degree). In 2001, after the release of the Radeon 8500, the original model was renamed as the Radeon 7200.

Other models of the original Radeon were the Radeon VE (RV100, later known at the Radeon 7000), which had one of the texturing units removed and had a 64-bit memory bus, as opposed to the 128-bit bus on the Radeon. The T&L engine and HyperZ was also removed. Another model was the Radeon LE, which was simply a Radeon clocked lower, and with Hyper-Z disabled at the software level (unlike the VE, where it wasn't built into the chip). The final model was the Radeon 7500 (R150), which was based on a 0.15 micrometre manufacturing process (R(V)100 used a 0.18 micrometre process) and clocked considerably higher than the R100. However, when nVidia launched the GeForce4 family, the Radeon 7500's performance was inferior to nVidia's similarly-priced GeForce4 MX440. This led ATI to release its successor, the Radeon 9000.

Models

(Ranked in performance order, best performing model at the bottom)

* Radeon VE/7000

* Radeon LE

* Radeon 7200 (SDR)/Radeon

* Radeon 7200 (DDR)

* Radeon 7500

ATI Radeon 7500



DirectX 8

ATI's first DirectX 8 card was the Radeon 8500, which was launched together with the Radeon 8500LE (later the Radeon 9100). The 8500 was able to outperform the GeForce3 (and in some circumstances, its faster variant, the Ti500), while the 8500LE became popular with OEMs and enthusiasts due to its low price. However, the 8500/LE was shipped without a working Anti-Aliasing implementation, and suffered a reputation for poor drivers throughout its life.

A second version, the 8500XT (R250) was supposedly in the works, ready to compete against the GeForce4 cards, but ATI (perhaps mindful of what had happened to 3dfx when they took focus off their "Rampage" processor) abandoned it, in favour of finishing off their next-generation card.

The Radeon 9000 (RV250) was launched alongside the 9700, and was basically a stripped-down 8500, incorporating a few improvements that had been put into the never-released 8500XT. It replaced the Radeon 7500 and was ATI's answer to the GeForce 4 MX440. Its main advantage over the GeForce4 MX440 was that it had a full vertex and pixel shader implementation. In games, it performed around the same as the GeForce 4 MX440. A later version of the 9000 was the 9200 (RV280), which, aside from supporting AGP-8X, was identical. However, there was a cheaper version, the 9200SE, which only had a 64-bit memory bus.

Models

(Ranked in performance order, best performing model at the bottom)

* Radeon 9200SE

* Radeon 9000

* Radeon 9250

* Radeon 9200

* Radeon 9000 Pro

* Radeon 9100

* Radeon 8500LE/9100 Pro

* Radeon 8500

ATI Radeon 8500



DirectX 9

First generation

The first DirectX 9 card from ATI (or anyone, for that matter) was the Radeon 9700 Pro (R300), launched in August 2002. The main improvements came from a greatly improved single-texturing speed (multi-texturing was around the same as the GeForce 4 TI4600's), and a 256-bit memory bus, which offered just under double the memory bandwidth of the Ti4600. In addition, the Radeon 9700 Pro was the world's first chip to feature 8 pixel pipelines, as well as the AGP 8x bus standard. Under normal conditions it beat the Ti4600 by around 15-20%, and when Anti-Aliasing and/or Anisotropic Filtering were switched on it beat the Ti4600 by anywhere from 40-100%. A slower chip, the 9700, was launched a few months later, differing only by slower core and memory speeds.

A few months later, the 9500 and 9500 Pro were launched. The 9500 Pro had half the memory bus width of the 9700 Pro, and the 9500 had half the pixel processing units disabled. The 9500 Pro outperformed all of nVidia's products (save the TI4600), while the 9500 also became popular because it could be modded into the much more powerful Radeon 9700. However, ATI's strategy here was flawed, as all the R300 chips were both based on the same physical die, meaning that ATI's production costs were high and chips could be modded to their higher end counterparts.

In early 2003, the 9700 cards were replaced by the 9800 (R350). These were basically R300s with higher speeds, and improvements to the shader units and memory controller, and was designed to maintain a performance lead over the newly launched GeForce FX 5800 Ultra (though it wasn't entirely necessary, as the 5800 GPUs never went into mass-production), which it managed to do. A later version with 256MB of memory used DDR-II SDRAM. The other two variants were the 9800, which was simply a lower-clocked 9800 Pro, and the 9800SE, which had half the pixel processing units disabled. Official ATI specs dictate a 256-bit memory bus for the 9800SE, but almost all manufacturers use a 128-bit bus.

The 9500 was replaced by the 9600 (and its Pro variant), and while the 9600 Pro didn't outperform its 9500 equivalent, it was much more economical for ATI to produce by way of a 0.13 micrometre process (all ATI's cards since the 7500/8500 had been 0.15 micrometre) and a simplified design. The 9600 Pro did, however, largely manage to beat nVidia's GeForce FX 5600 Ultra.

Later in 2003, three new cards were launched - the 9800XT, (R360), the 9600XT and the 9600SE (both RV360). The 9800XT was slightly faster than the 9800 Pro had been, while the 9600XT competed well with the newly launched GeForce FX 5700 Ultra. The 9600SE was ATI's answer to nVidia's GeForce FX 5200 Ultra, and managed to perform roughly equal to the first, and was priced lower than the latter. Another RV360 chip followed in early 2004, the 9550, which was a 9600 with a lower core clock (though an identical memory clock and bus width).

Models

(Ranked in performance order, best performing model at the bottom)

* Radeon 9550 SE

* Radeon 9600 SE

* Radeon 9550

* Radeon 9600

* Radeon 9500

* Radeon 9600 Pro

* Radeon 9800 SE

* Radeon 9500 Pro

* Radeon 9600 XT

* Radeon 9700

* Radeon 9800

* Radeon 9700 Pro

* Radeon 9800 Pro

* Radeon 9800 XT

ATI Radeon 9800XT





Second generation

In May 2004, the newest Radeons were launched - the Radeon X Series.The X series were the latest line of ATI cards that was meant to counter rival NVIDIA's GeForce 6 Series. At first, ATI released the X800 series aimed at the enthusiast market, the three models in the X800 series are the X800 Pro, the X800 XT and the X800 XT Platnium Edition. All are available in both AGP and PCI Express form, except for the X800 Pro, which is available in only AGP form.

Later ATI released the X600 and the X300 which are all only avaliable in PCI Express form. Recently ATI also introduced the X700 series, which will for now also be available only in PCI Express form.

When ATI released specifications for their X series, many users were surprised at the fact ATI had decided not to include support for shader model 3.0, as nVidia had in their lineup of cards. ATI instead decided to use shader model 2.0b. The 3.0 specification will be implemented in the not yet released R5xx series. The X800s were the first, based on the R420 core. The X800s are essentially quad-core RV360 chips, produced on a 0.13 micrometre process and using GDDR-3 memory. In terms of supported DirectX features, they are identical to the R3xx cores. The highest-end version is the X850XT Platinum Edition, a fully enabled R420 core, with slightly lower-clocked versions, X850XT, X800XT Platinum Edition, and X800XT also available. The third X800 card, the X800XL is an underclocked version of the X800XT, but possesses all 16 pipelines of the higher end card. It is ATI's answer to the nVidia GeForce 6800GT. The fourth X800, the X800 Pro is similar to the X800XT, but with 1/4 of the chip disabled. A fifth version, the X800SE, is expected to be launched shortly, and will have half of the core disabled.

This was followed the next month by the X300 and X600 series, which were little more than PCI Express versions of the Radeon 9600 series. The X600 proved to be only a stopgap, being replaced by the X700 series in September. The X700 series had a similar core and memory setup to the 9500 Pro, only clocked much higher and produced on a 0.11 micrometre process. The fastest version, the X700XT performs comparably to the 9800XT.

Models

(Ranked in performance order, best performing model at the bottom)

* Radeon X300SE

* Radeon X300

* Radeon X600 Pro

* Radeon X600XT

* Radeon X700

* Radeon X700 Pro

* Radeon X700XT

* Radeon X800

* Radeon X800 Pro

* Radeon X850 Pro

* Radeon X800XL

* Radeon X800XT

* Radeon X800XT Platinum Edition

* Radeon X850XT

* Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition

Model series and specifications

Radeon X300 series

The X300 series is the PCI Express equivalent of the Radeon 9600, it is just based on new hardware. The X300SE series is a PCI Express equivalent of the Radeon 9600SE, and also just based on new hardware. Each of the series has the same set of features as the Radeon X models.

While the basic feature-set is identical to RV380, the RV370 core will be based on a 0.11 micrometre process.

X300SE

* Core Clock: 325 MHz

* Memory Clock: 400 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 4

* Vertex Processors: 2

* Memory: 128 MiB/256 MiB GDDR1 memory on a 64 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $79-$199 US depending on display/memory configurations



X300

* Core Clock: 325 MHz

* Memory Clock: 400 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 4

* Vertex Processors: 4

* Memory: 128 MiB/256 MiB GDDR1 memory on a 128 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $79-$199 US depending on display/memory configuration

Radeon X600 series

The X600 Pro series is the PCI Express equivalent of the Radeon 9600 Pro, but is based on new hardware. The X600XT is the PCI Express equivalent of the Radeon 9600XT with higher core and memory clocks, the top-end card of the X600 series.

X600 Pro

* Core Clock: 400 MHz

* Memory Clock: 600 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 4

* Vertex Processors: 2

* Memory: 128 MiB/256 MiB GDDR1 on a 128 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $199-$299 US depending on display/memory configurations

X600 XT

* Core Clock: 400 MHz

* Memory Clock: 700 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 4

* Vertex Processors: 2

* Memory: 128 MiB/256 MiB GDDR1 on a 128 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $199-$299 US depending on display/memory configurations



Radeon X700 series

The X700 series replaced the X600 in September 2004. The X700 series has a similar core and memory setup to the Radeon 9500 Pro, only clocked much higher and produced on a 0.11 micrometre process. The X700XT is the fastest version of the X700 series and it performs comparably to the 9800XT.

X700

* Core Clock: 400 MHz

* Memory Clock: 700 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 8

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 128 MiB GDDR1 on a 128-bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $150 US



X700 Pro

* Core Clock: 420 MHz

* Memory Clock: 864 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 8

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB GDDR-3 on a 128 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $199 US

X700 XT

* Core Clock: 475 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1050 MHz

* Pixel Pipelines: 8

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 128 MiB/256 MiB GDDR-3 on a 128 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $199-$299 US depending on display/memory configurations

Radeon X800 series (0.13 micrometre)

The X800 series was launched in May 2004, based on the R420 core. The X800 units are essentially quad-core RV360 chips, produced on a 0.13 micrometre process and using GDDR-3 memory. In terms of supported DirectX features, they are almost identical to the R3xx cores.

The X800 graphics processing units were among the first to use PCI Express. These versions of the core use a slightly different version of the R420 core, designated the R423. The highest-end version is the X800XT Platinum Edition, which has a fully-enabled R420 core. The X800XT is a slightly lower-clocked version.

The X800 Pro was the third released X800 card and it is similar to the X800XT, but with one fourth of the pixel pipelines disabled.

X800 Pro

* Core Clock: 475 MHz

* Memory Clock: 900 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 12

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB GDDR-3 on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $399 US

X800 XT

* Core Clock: 500 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1000 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 16

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB GDDR-3 on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $450 US



X800 XT Platinum Edition

* Core Clock: 520 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1120 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 16

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB GDDR-3 on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $499 US

The Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition is in very limited availability so it typically sold for a higher price than the one quoted above. Commonly referred to by the community as Phantom Edition.

Radeon X800 series (0.11 micrometre)

The Radeon X800 0.11 micrometre series were introduced at the end of 2004 along with ATi's new X850 cards. While the X800 is a great alternative to the X700XT, the X800XL is ATi's new competitor for nVidia's GeForce 6800 GT, delivering about the same performance at a much lower price.

X800

* Core Clock: 400 MHz

* Memory Clock: 700 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 12

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 128 MiB on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $249 US

X800 XL

* Core Clock: 400 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1000 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 16

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $349 US

Radeon X850 Series

ATI has recently released the X850 series which have a little more performance than the X800 series and will be avaliable in 3 forms: the X850 Pro, the X850 XT, and the X850 XT Platinum Edition. The X850 series should be available in much larger quantities. The Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition is currenty ATI's most powerful video card to compete with the nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra.

X850 Pro

* Core Clock: 520 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1080 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 12

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $399 US

X850 XT

* Core Clock: 520 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1080 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 16

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $499 US

X850 XT Platinum Edition

* Core Clock: 540 MHz

* Memory Clock: 1180 MHz

* Pixel pipelines: 16

* Vertex Processors: 6

* Memory: 256 MiB on a 256 bit interface

* MSRP,(RRP): $549 US

ATI X850 Platinum Edition





Future Products

R520 - This was the original successor to R3x0, under the codename of R400. However, the design was abandoned, as ATI's engineers deemed it unfeasible to produce with current manufacturing technologies. It has been renamed and delayed to Spring of 2005, to allow redesign, and will support Vertex and Pixel Shaders V3.0. The codename for R520 is "Fudo".

But remember .... Nvidia :0wned: ATI lol :bootyshak

X850 Pics from [H]ardocp, others via firingsqud.com, and additional info from Wikipedia

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"Jonathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel may be 12-time world gaming champ, but how does he cope inside a 50c hot box sucking on a heavy load?":rocker::rocker:
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Old 01-04-05, 11:48 PM
JN JN is offline
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Lookin good m8. I can see this being another 5 pip thread
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Old 01-04-05, 11:51 PM
PV5150 PV5150 is offline
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LOL thanks XMS, pics will be included later. I wanna get the writing out of the way first. So sorry for the bland look at the moment.
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Originally Posted by name='Jim'
"Jonathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel may be 12-time world gaming champ, but how does he cope inside a 50c hot box sucking on a heavy load?":rocker::rocker:
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Old 02-04-05, 01:42 AM
enVias enVias is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='XMS'
Lookin good m8. I can see this being another 5 pip thread
i can already see it as another 5 pip thread

great job PV
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Old 02-04-05, 12:54 PM
JN JN is offline
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Frikken wicked PV.

You get some of these

Soem of these

Some of these

And 5 pips
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Old 02-04-05, 03:29 PM
PV5150 PV5150 is offline
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Sweet thank you, I'll have those boxed and gift wrapped pls
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"Jonathan 'Fatal1ty' Wendel may be 12-time world gaming champ, but how does he cope inside a 50c hot box sucking on a heavy load?":rocker::rocker:
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Old 03-04-05, 01:17 PM
enVias enVias is offline
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Originally Posted by name='PV5150
But remember .... Nvidia :0wned: [COLOR=Red]ATI[/COLOR'] lol :bootyshak
You know what you're talking about PV
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Old 19-12-05, 04:43 AM
Moku Moku is offline
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Yet another excellent post which I found very helpful to a newbie such as me.
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  #9  
Old 20-12-05, 10:42 PM
Eguy Eguy is offline
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they have waaaaay to many models to try and cope with the green
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Old 28-02-06, 07:52 PM
PV5150 PV5150 is offline
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Soz for thread resurrection, which reminds me I need to update both of these rofl

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Eguy'
they have waaaaay to many models to try and cope with the green
But I did lollers

http://www.sysxtreme.com/showthread.php?t=473
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