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

  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    If the 600MHZ core speed is correct then this card has more then enough fillrate to take on 6800 GT, which I think it would be targeting nevermind 6800 Standard.

    And if it intros at say 199US for the 256MB version, and 249US for the 512MB version it would be pretty sweet indeed.

    Memory bandwiddth limitation will continue to be an issue considering the fact that memory performance increase have not scaled in a 1:1 ratio with the amount of fillrate each new generation brings.

    128Bit was chosen for cost reasons and feasability, as the RV530 may not have the necessary space around it to implement such an 256Bit one.

    But remember Nvidia does have an answer soon, with G72 Core, which is likely to have comparable performance to this very card.
  • Marlowe - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    I think you guys are wrong when you expect these cards to be targeted at the 6600GT/6800 cards, as ATI just released X800GT with this purpose. Reply
  • CU - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    They may have just released a product to compete with the 6600 and 6800, but the specs seem to suggest that it should be faster than a 6800nu and even the 6800GT if the game is gpu limited and not memory bandwith limit. With a fillrate of 7200 a 6800GT would need to run at 450mhz. Reply
  • jonny13 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Note that is only max memory. That certainly doesn't mean that it will come standard. That just means in a year when the top end cards come standard with 512, they can charge an extra $50 for this low end card with a lot of ram, just like the 6600 with 256 today. Reply
  • Spoonbender - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    yeah, that struck me as odd too. Could it be that this memory is neccesary for the product to compete? 1.4GHz? On a midrange card? If so, it looks bad for ATI. (But then the 128-bit bus makes no sense)
    Or maybe some of the specs got mixed up? That's the only meaningful explanation I can think of. The alternative is that ATI has screwed up big time, which doesn't sound as likely...
  • tuteja1986 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Just in when i usually buy my Brand NEW Shinny AWesome graphic card. I am hopping the R520 is really supper fast like Rumor Hype it. Reply
  • Spoonbender - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Hmm, 12 pipelines on their next-gen midrange card? That's not a lot. Impressive clock speeds though. :)
    But given this, I highly doubt the R520 is going to be 32 pipelines like some have guessed. 24 sounds more likely. And then it won't be the uber-powerful G70 killer that ATI fans keep hoping for. (Ok, I'm not saying it'll be slower either, at those clock speeds, it seems like it could be a powerful beast still, but I highly doubt it's going to really destroy the G70)

    Am I the only one seeing a similarity to Prescott here? Too much focus on extreme clock speeds, at the cost of an efficient design? (Of course, it's too early to judge actual performance, but we know they're going to need a dual-slot design, while NVidia has actually cut down drastically on heat output with the G70.)

    And sheeesh, an october launch on the R520 cards? ATI, I'm not impressed. NVidia is getting one hell of a head start here.
  • ksherman - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    I thnk that ATI is really tryng to advance the technology. They are using new techs and a 90nm process, trying to cut down on power and heat! Reply
  • Spoonbender - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Cut down on heat? The article says clearly the R4520 requires 2-slot cooling. Compare that to the 7800 GTX which produces less heat than even the last-generation ATI cards. Reply
  • Spoonbender - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Err, and that was supposed to be R520, of course :) Reply

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