ATI's R5xxx Roadmap Details

If anything, ATI's OEM partners are just as confused as the rest of us. R520, ATI's next generation replacement for the X800 and X850 series, still has no name. We have talked a little bit about R520 in the past, specifically concerning H.264 acceleration on the card. We have also hinted at performance rumors of the R520, but since the silicon has been overhauled so many times since then, R520 could be much different than what was originally speculated. (In fact, we know it is.)

The ATI roadmaps specifically claim the new R5xxx series cards have new video architectures, new memory controllers and now use a 90nm production process. Whether that equates to better performance will have to wait until the actual production launches.

You'll first notice that ATI is releasing their cards slightly out of order this time around. ATI's approach may be to corner off NVIDIA before a next generation replacement for the 6200 series shows up. NVIDIA actually has a current generation 6200 replacement already, the GeForce 6500 (geared specifically to target the Radeon X550). Our sources say the GeForce 6500 will fall somewhere between the performance of a 6600LE and a GeForce 6200, but at a much lower price point than the 6600LE.

We have obscured the launch times of these cards intentionally.

ATI High Performance Roadmap
Core Name Slot Width Launch Date
R520 "XT" Crossfire Dual Slot Mid October
R520 "XT" Dual Slot Early October
R520 "XL" Single Slot Late September

There is some discrepancy between the exact naming on the various cards. We have heard R520 "GL" in the past, but this most recent roadmap seems to indicate R520XL instead. A "Pro" version of the R520 is mentioned as well, but that is the only card for which we do not have an exact availability date. Expect retail availability of these cards in November.

Radeon X850 and Radeon X800 are not completely out of the loop yet either. "Master Card" editions of the X850 and X800 are expected in September as "CrossFire Edition" cards.

Since RV530 and RV515 are actually launching first, we have a bit more information about them. Both RV530 and RV515 come in two main flavors; the RV530XT and RV530 Pro, as well as the RV515 Pro and RV515LE. Again we have slightly obscured the timing on the launches of these cards.

ATI Mid and Low Performance Roadmap
Core Name Slot Width Launch Date
RV530 Crossfire Single Slot Late October
RV515 "XL" Single Slot Late September

Oddly enough, ATI is going with a dual-slot configuraton for the high end R520s. Even though the card will physically only occupy a single PEG, the thermals are so massive that they take up two expansion slots, as with the X850XT cards today.

The only major difference between the RV530XT and RV530 Pro appears to be clock speed. A general clock recommendation is given below, but obviously manufacturers will vary this as they please. AGP versions of the RV530 will appear with the Rialto PCI-E to AGP bridge after the initial launch. Meanwhile, the PCI-e users will be blessed with Crossfire editions of at least one of the RV530 variants.


  • 600MHz Core Clock
  • 1400MHz Memory Clock
  • 512MB Maximum Memory for "XT"
  • 256MB Maximum Memory for "Pro"
  • 128-bit Memory
  • 12 Pipelines
  • Maximum 16x32MB 1.4ns GDDR3

RV515 also comes in two separate versions: a "Pro" and an "LE" version. Again there will be AGP versions much after the launch in the form of Rialto bridged cards. ATI roadmaps do not indicate there will be CrossFire versions of RV515.


  • 450MHz Core Clock
  • 800MHz Memory Clock
  • 256MB Maximum Memory Support
  • 128-bit Memory
  • 4 Pipelines
  • Maximum 16x16MB 2.5ns GDDR2

More details including the various launch names for these cards to follow!



View All Comments

  • OrSin - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Did someone really complain that these cards are not getting faster fast enough.
    Thats crazy. Don't blame it on the cards blame it on games with not so great graphics, blame the damn programmers. All they have to do is program graphics anymore. All the levels, storyline and AI is all the same. So gaming companies take 2 year to redo what, the graphic engine, only to do that poorly. The CPU is not holding up any of FPS, and these cards that are out now are over kill for any other type of games. Can't believe people want more speed. Give me the same or less speed at a real price. The fact that graphic cards are costing more then whole systems is crazy. Who the hell needs 1600x1200 at 120 FPS, with all the goodies on. You either play the game hardcore and don't have time to see the "neat" stuff or you play slow and watch the damn sunset. People have offical lost it.
  • Rock Hydra - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link


    People have officaly lost it.

    Uh...buying the best of the best is nothing new.

    That's why they call them performance enthusiasts. They're not really concerned about saving money. They want the best they can get.
  • Powered by AMD - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    its good to hear at least something about R520. Personally I think, after reading the article, that It will have 32 pipes:
    "R520 could be much different than what was originally speculated. (In fact, we know it is.)"
    And originally speculated, were its 24 pipes. Maybe its higher clock speed or something else, but I think it will have 32 Pipes, call me crazy if you want :p
  • Spoonbender - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    You mean they just tacked on an extra 8 pipelines, in the middle of their respins to *improve* yields? ;)
    Nah, I doubt that.

    The comment that it's much different from the original specs doesn't have anything to do with pipelines. There are plenty of things to tweak, and most likely, they've only changed stuff like the targeted clock speed, as well as asvarious low-level stuff that does nothing more than move a few wires and components around to achieve better yields.
  • Josh7289 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    ATI is going for higher clockspeeds and less pipelines, a la Intel-style. Nvidia seems to be more liek AMD, going for generally lower clockspeeds but more pipelines...

    I don't know about the performance of these GPUs compared to Nvidia's, but I'm almost positive they'll run much hotter...

    In the end, it won't matter if these cards are better than Nvidia's if the prices are too high, since ATI is already aggresively cutting prices on their current generation cards and Nvidia's prices are going down, too.
  • Biatche1488 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Gddr3 1.4ns 512mb i dont know if 512mb will make a diference but if it does on a midrange card r520 will be...I will buy a r530 for my computer its on agp cant wait! Reply
  • shabby - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Isnt it kinda stupid to be using super duper expensive memory on a midrange product with a 128bit bus? Reply
  • Jep4444 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    You don't know the costs of implementing a 256bit memory interface, it requires more complex wiring amongs other things that could very well mean that 256bit at 350mhz is more expensive than 128bit at 700mhz.

    Now i'm no expert and i don't know which costs more to implement but i doubt ATI would spend more money to produce a card than necessary.
  • DrZoidberg - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    yeah well spotted. RV530 has 128-bit memory, silly to have 512 mb 128 bit memory card cause that will hardly make any difference. I think rv530 is designed to kill the 6600gt cause last year x700 wasnt as good as 6600gt. It will be slower than x800xl or 6800gt. Reply
  • Tanclearas - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    I'm thinking this card is directly targetted at the 6600GT/6800. If ATI can release RV530 at $199 US, it seems like it could do very well. Of course, specs rarely tell the whole story, but the figures match up fairly well with the 6800. Same memory bandwidth (1400MHz 128-bit vs 700MHz 256-bit) and both 12 pipeline. RV530 would definitely have the core speed advantage (600MHz vs 325MHz), but the speed might be overkill for the memory bandwidth available. Reply

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