Introduction

Today, ATI has finally launched their X1000 series. The long awaited answer to NVIDIA's 7800 series now brings Shader Model 3.0 (among other things) to ATI's platform. The expanded feature set and improved performance of the new X1000 products promise to bring ATI back in contention with NVIDIA's high end parts. For the past few months, NVIDIA has enjoyed their performance lead and will finally face some competition. Will the X1000 series be enough to win out over the 7800 series?

There are plenty of new features available, which take away the exclusive availability of high end SM3.0 features in games like Splinter Cell 3 from NVIDIA. With a top to bottom release, ATI is making sure that their parts are competitive on every level. From a performance standpoint, we can expect the high end to surpass the X850 XT by a large margin. However, the most important aspect of this launch will be whether or not ATI is competitive with performance per dollar versus NVIDIA hardware.

There are a lot of products launching today that we don't yet have in our labs. The cheapest X1300s are of interest, but we only have the more expensive version. All of the cards are the highest performing of their type. We will be very interested in testing the rest of the product line as soon as it becomes available to us.

Speaking of availability, we had strongly hoped to bring out a review of products that could be purchased at retail today. Unfortunately, no one we know of has the card on their shelves or in their web pages for sale today. Some merchants are saying that they may ship in a week or so, but this is certainly not a launch on the level of the 7800 GTX or 7800 GT. We published an insider article on this very subject last night:
Will we add October 5 to the list of memorable dates of 2005 - at least with regard to products launching and shipping on the same day? All vendors we've interviewed tell us that there will be no new ATI SKUs on their warehouse floors on the morning of October 5. Some report that they expect shipments within a few days, and others don't really expect shipments for at least a week; and all report that their initial SKUs will be "built by ATI" branded cards. This is not reminiscent of the GeForce 7xxx nor the Intel 6xx launch earlier this year, where the product was literally waiting to be shipped a week before the launch date. On the other hand, those waiting to buy some of ATI's new SKUs won't have to wait long, according to these vendors. Several vendors will happily accept pre orders, although vendors also tell us that the initial shipments of ATI's SKUs are of relatively low volume; at least when compared to the GeForce 7xxx launches of earlier this year.
We had certainly wanted to see something different today on the availability side, but there are plenty of other things to be excited about today. Let's take a look at the new face of ATI: The X1000 series.

Feature Overview
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  • Gigahertz19 - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    On the last page I will quote

    "With its 512MB of onboard RAM, the X1800 XT scales especially well at high resolutions, but we would be very interested in seeing what a 512MB version of the 7800 GTX would be capable of doing."

    Based on the results in the benchmarks I would say 512MB barely does anything. Look at the benchmarks on Page 10 the Geforce 7800GTX either beats the X1800 XT or loses by less then 1 FPS. SCALES WELL AT HIGH RESOLUTIONS? Not really, has the author of this article looked at their own benchmarks included? When the resolution is at 2048 x 1536 the 7800GTX creams the competition except in Farcry where it loses by .2FPS to the X1800XT and Splinter Cell it loses by .8FPS so basically it's a tie in those 2 games.

    You know why Nvidia does not have a 512MB version because look at the results...it does shit. 512Mb is pointless right now and if you argue you'll use it for the future then will till future games use it and then buy the best GPU then, not now. These new ATI's blow wookies, so much for competition.
    Reply
  • NeonFlak - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    "In some cases, the X1800 XL is able to compete with the 7800 GTX, but not enough to warrant pricing on the same level."

    From the graphs in the review with all the cards present the x1800xl only beat the 7800gt once by 4fps... So beating the 7800gt in one graph by 4fps makes that statement even viable?
    Reply
  • FunkmasterT - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    EXACTLY!!

    ATI's FPS numbers are a major disappointment!
    Reply
  • Questar - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    Unless you want image quality. Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    And the difference is worth the $100 eatra dollars PLUS the "lower" frame rates? Not good bang for the buck. Reply
  • Powermoloch - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    Not the cards....Just the review. Really sad :( Reply
  • yacoub - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    So $450 for the X1800XL versus $250 for the X800XL and the only difference is the new core that maybe provides a handful of additional frames per second, a new AA mode, and shader model 3.0?

    Sorry, that's not worth $200 to me. Not even close.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, October 06, 2005 - link


    Perhaps a up to 20% performance improvement, looking at pixel fillrate alone.
    Shader Model 3.0 Support.
    ATI's Avivo Technology
    OpenEXR HDR Support.
    HQ Non-Angle Dependent AF User Choice

    You decide if that's worth the 200US price difference to you, Adaptive AA, I wouldn't count as apparently through ATI's driver all R3xx hardware and higher now have this capability not just R5xx derivatives, sort of like the launched with R4xx feature Temporal AA.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    So even if these cards were available in stores/online today, the best PCI-E card one can buy for ~$250 is still either an X800XL or a 6800GT. (Or an X800 GTO2 for $230 and flash and overclock it.)

    I find it disturbing that they even waste the time to develop, let alone release, low-end parts that price-wise can't even compete. Why bother wasting the development and processing to create a card that costs more and performs less? What a joke those two lower-end cards are (x1300 and x1600).
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, October 06, 2005 - link

    The Radeon X1600 XT is intended to replace the older X700 Pro, not the stop gap 6600 GT competitors, X800 GT, X800 GTO, which only came into being because ATI had leftoever supplies of R423/R480 & for X800 GTO only R430 cores and of course due to the fact that X700 Pro wasn't really competitive in performance to 600 GT in the firstp lace, due to ATI's reliance on Low-k technology for their high clock frequencies.

    I think these are sucessful replacements.

    Radeon X850/X800 is replaced by Radeon X1800 Technology.
    Radeon X700 is replaced by Radeon X1600 Technology.
    Radeon X550/X300 is replaced by Radeon X1300 Technology.

    X700 is 156mm2 on 110nm, X1600 is 132mm2 on 90nm
    X550 & X1300 are roughly around the same die size, sub 100mm2.

    Though the newer cards use more expensive memory types on their high end versions.

    They also finally bring ATI's entire family as having the same feature set, something that hasn't been seen ever before by ATI I believe. I mean having a high end, mainstream & budget core based on the same technology.

    Nvidia achieved this item first with the Geforce FX line.
    Reply

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