ATI has never gone this long while being uncontested in the high end graphics market. Even when the original Radeon was released, ATI's slight performance lead was quickly abolished by updated drivers from NVIDIA. With the Radeon 9700 Pro ATI has managed to put together a solution that is not only significantly faster than NVIDIA's closest competitor but they've also done so months ahead of NV30.
ATI hasn't slowed their pace at all in the two months since the Radeon 9700 Pro has been shipping to retailers. In those two months we witnessed the release of the Mobility Radeon 9000 and the launch of ATI's All in Wonder Radeon 9700 Pro.
With upgraded parts tailoring to the needs of the low end, high end, mobile and VIVO markets there is only one area that ATI remains deficient in - the mainstream. Although ATI can claim performance and technology leadership with the Radeon 9700 Pro, the card is easily outsold by NVIDIA's GeForce4 line simply because lower priced cards sell in much greater volumes.
To quote ATI's own numbers, there are 8 times as many people buying video cards in the $200 - $300 range as there are buying cards priced at more than $300. And although we've stressed this in the past, it's always good to remind that there are 32 times more people buying cards in the $100 - $200 range than there are buying Radeon 9700s.
Now that ATI does finally have that technology and performance leadership, it is time to focus on the volume areas. This means that they need a card to compete in the $100 - $200 performance mainstream segment. We actually already announced what this card would be back in July during ATI's R300 launch and today we're able to bring you a preview of the technology and performance behind ATI's Radeon 9500 Pro.