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

  • R3MF - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    i want a 7800GT competitor pronto so that i can afford to buy one shortly after. :( Reply
  • DLeRium - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link


    Well I hope this will get ATI on track. Be optimistic. But let's hope this won't be a paper launch. On paper these products always look great, but who knows what will happen now. I bought my 7800GT, but I won't be looking back. If ATI buys NV tomorrow, I will not cry.
  • OrphanBoy - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    I bought an X800XL yesterday (off eBay) and I had a minor heartattack when I saw the title of this article! Though I stand by my decision, as there's no way that the R520 XL card will be released as cheaply as you can get X800XLs today, and the RV530/515 cards don't look comparable in performance to the XL... Reply
  • GhandiInstinct - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    I just recently got the XL as well. No sweat man, no game now or the near future will own the XL. Reply
  • UzairH - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Here's hoping the R520 will be a killer, much faster than 7800GTX. I personally feel that GPUs are not advancing quickly enough. ATI had better release real monsters to make up for the very late launch. Reply
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    You think GPU's aren't advancing quickly enough there are other things that don't advance nearly as quick, CPU's for one, Memory is another, HD is one of the slowest of these.

    GPU's are actually one of the things that advance the fastest, due to the ability to scale through clock frequency AND parallelism.
  • Rock Hydra - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    Well, I want something that surely justifies the extreme price point. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - link

    GPUs aren't advancing quickly enough!? What about processors? The 7800GTX only benefits relative to many other cards at 1600x1200 or higher resolutions, and SLI doesn't even do that some times. Perhaps if we had even faster GPUs for the mainstream we'd see games increase in graphical complexity, but the CPU is really hurting performance in the latest games when you run G70 cards. Reply

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