Recently we received confirmation that the first retail samples of ATI's R420 (AGP Radeon X800) will debut April 26 as Radeon X800 Pro. ATI's naming scheme for R420 has been closely guarded, but the open term we hear from vendors is "Radeon X800."

What seems highly unusual is the scheduled introduction of Radeon X800 XT on May 31st; only a month after Radeon X800 Pro's unveiling. Recall that Radeon 9800 and 9800 XT were launched six months apart. We can speculate ATI has either changed their marketing strategy, or the difference in performance between R420 and NV40 hastens ATI's release schedule. Further inspection of the ATI roadmaps reveals that "Non-Pro" Radeon X800s are absent. Perhaps "XT" has replaced the "Pro" Radeon series, and "Pro" thus replaced the "Non-Pro" Radeon series. Even though the initial launches of Radeon X800 will use 256MB of GDDR3, before the end of the year we also anticipate a 512MB revision. Furthermore, we will almost certainly see Radeon X800 SE with 128MB of DDR1; which will also debut with much a lower clockspeed.

R423, the PCI-Express (PCX) version of R420, is scheduled to launch June 14th. Specifications on R423 are identical to R420, and the cards will also carry the Radeon X800 product name.

RV380 and RV370 will also receive new product names, as Radeon X600 and Radeon X300, respectively. For more details about R420, RV380 and RV370, please take a look at our previous ATI roadmaps here. Stay tuned for more ATI and NVIDA news from the trenches.

Update April 9, 2004: We just received confirmation that X800 Pro will run on 12 pipelines, Radeon X800 XT will run on 16 pipelines and Radeon X800 SE will run on 8. It is important to note that all three of these chips are based on the same R420/R423 core. ATI could have an overclocker'ss/softmodder s dream with the X800 Pro and SE derivaties! This also comes as somewhat of a surprise since original leaked ATI documents claimed R420 would utilize 8 "Extreme" pipelines.

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  • T8000 - Monday, April 12, 2004 - link

    I think it is impossible for ATI to "add" some more pipelines without doing a new tape out, so unless these pipes where hidden before, R420 will not make it to market with 16 pipelines untill december.

    And just for the record, pipelines are paralell paths in a GPU able to produce rendered pixels, so double the pipelines means double the fill rate, but because they may have to share shaders and texture units, more pipelines do not always generate more performance.

    Also note that you have to multiply the number of pipelines with the clock speed to calculate the theoretical fill rate.

    For those asking if chips could be softmodded, this is very likely, because the real money is made in the lower mid-range, because of the higher sales volumes. So if they could add options to boost sales, without spending more on chips, they will most likely do it.

    But remember that enabeling top-end options or speeds may not work on all chips, because top models are often hand picked, as consumers want "their" brand to make the fastest stuff, to impress others with the brand name.

    So, as a manufacturer can sell more midrange models when they manage to make their top-end model win the benchmarks (even if their midrange card is slower), there is a very good reason to hand pick top-end chips.
  • darkjedi1066 - Sunday, April 11, 2004 - link

    some of you think the names are too long now? wait til Leadtek gets their hands on the chipsets....imagine Leadtek Winfast A420-16 X800 Golden Sample yadda yadda yadda...assuming, of course, Leadtek is wise enough to branch out to ATI chipsets....
  • spyhalfer - Sunday, April 11, 2004 - link

    Why on earth should ATI release a card with 12 pipelines, that can be made into 16, before they release a 16 pipeline part?
  • AsiLuc - Sunday, April 11, 2004 - link

    Stop guessing and start benchmarking!
    I can't stand this, I need facts! This way you're giving me a nerve-breakdown...
  • AtaStrumf - Saturday, April 10, 2004 - link

    Well Pete, we essentially agree. It's all one and the same core, with just parts of it disabled for branding and yield improving purposes.
  • tazdevl - Friday, April 9, 2004 - link

    #42, don't believe everything you read. The "scoop" you are referring to is about as reliable as you come across on The Inq.

  • Pete - Friday, April 9, 2004 - link

    #45 AtaSrumf, R420 is the name of the GPU, not the card. From what we're hearing, the GPU itself has four quads constituting 16 potential pipelines, and ATi seems to have the capability to disable a quad if it's imperfect in some way. This is the same way Intel sells Celerons as crippled Pentiums, by disabling half of the L2 cache that has errors in it. Manufacturing a GPU is all about yields, or how many perfect GPUs you can get out of a silicon wafer. ATi, by being able to disable parts of the GPU that contain errors to sell those imperfect chips as fully functional yet lower-performing, is essentially raising their yields of R420 (because they throw less GPUs away).

    This is assuming Anandtech is right and R420 can disable faulty quads. This rumor has made the rounds at B3D a few weeks ago, too. It seems an almost perfect solution to increasing yields and thus lowering cost, but ATi may just be doing so at the beginning. They may drop eight-pipe R420's in favor of a mid-range eight-pipe GPU, as they did moving from the stop-gap 9500 Pro (built using the high-end R300 GPU) to the 9600 Pro (built using the smaller and cheaper RV350 GPU).
  • tazdevl - Friday, April 9, 2004 - link

    wrong... Pro will run on 16 as well.
  • AtaStrumf - Friday, April 9, 2004 - link

    How can the X800 XT be 16 pipelines and stil be called R420. That's kind of weird.

    And the X800 Pro is more than a little later than it would normaly be expected, so if you put 2 and 2 together you see, that perhaps it's all the same core, and soft/hard moding these cards could be a real possibility. Maybe we will see a X800 XT even before May 31st :)
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, April 9, 2004 - link

    Phiro: Totally understandable. Here is my philosophy on the NV thing as of right now though:

    Had this been something like "NV40 is not compatible with all AMD mobos", that would be a battle to fight. As far as the GeForce 6800 name and April 13 release date; well, if you look hard enough you can still find that info (comments, forum posts, etc). I was only told to remove it from the article.

    The timing also has more to do with it - I am glad i got 2 days out of the post before someone told me to remove it anyway. Had it been 2 hours after I posted, I most likely would have stood my ground. You can also bet that as soon as the NDA lifts i will replace the original content for archival purposes.

    Hope that helps :)


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