Computex 2002 Day 3: More ATI, VIA & PaceBladeby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 5, 2002 11:48 AM EST
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RV250 - Technically ready for a while
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We've already been briefed under NDA on ATI's RV250 part so we cannot share the majority of material about the RV250 chip but we can definitely offer what we've learned today.
The RV250 chip will be the mainstream part that will take over once the R300 launches. While we can't disclose the specific specifications of the part, our board manufacturing contacts today informed us that the performance of the RV250 is very close to that of the R200 (Radeon 8500). This obviously means that the RV250 will not only make the Radeon 8500LE obsolete but it will also make the Radeon 8500 useless as well. Apparently ATI has had the RV250 ready for a while but they didn't want to kill Radeon 8500 sales so they held off on releasing it until closer to R300's launch. Considering the chip will be a mainstream product we can expect it to sell on boards for around the $199 price point.
The architecture is very similar to R200 (DX8 part) with a few things removed and core clock speeds are expected to be close to 300MHz according to our sources today. At 300MHz the RV250 has the potential of being tough competition for the GeForce4 Ti 4200, but we'll have to wait for its launch before we can decide for certain.
ATI & VIA - The Fiasco
Yesterday we brought you pictures of ATI's R300 running in VIA's booth and as we originally guessed it, VIA shouldn't have been showing off the card. It turns out that ATI ended up getting quite upset with VIA but in the end the running R300 card should have been embraced by ATI as some very good PR. Today a visit to VIA's booth revealed an ASUS GeForce2 card running in place of the R300.
To those at ATI that were worried about VIA bragging about having R300 in their suite, VIA did nothing of the sort. We recognized the board as something other than R200 or RV250 and thus inquired a bit further but for the most part VIA was simply calling it an 8X AGP card by ATI.
Is there any reason for ATI to be irritated with VIA over this? We can understand why, but at the same time, as long as no benchmarks were released and the system was running reliably there's no reason for ATI to be worried. In fact, if anything, this helps validate ATI's quiet message that they are significantly ahead of NV30 in terms of development. Interestingly enough, while the R300 equipped KT400 system was running just fine yesterday, today we witnessed it bluescreen with the GeForce2 installed. Go figure.
Although we're hearing from more and more people that R300 will be 0.15-micron based, we're also hearing that ATI's confidence in its performance is not misplaced. We won't comment any further but a combination of what we heard when we toured ATI a few weeks ago, John Carmack's comments at E3 and the most recent events give ATI infinitely more credibility when it comes to their claims about R300.
Should VIA have been running R300 in their booth? No. Was any harm done by it being there? Look at what AMD is doing with Hammer which is even further away than R300 from being released and tell us if a confident display of a product running is harmful press.