The part that everyone wants to hear about is, of course, the Radeon X1800 based on ATI's long awaited R520 GPU. Due for introduction later this quarter, the 90nm R520 will be a 16-pipe, 16-shader processor design with a number of different SKUs based on the GPU. Internal ATI documentation specifically claims that the R520 series will ship at launch, just as NVIDIA's 7800GTX and 7800GT series shipped and launched on the same dates.

ATI R520 Roadmap and Pricing
Card Pipes Std Core Clock Std Memory MSRP
X1800 XT 16 600MHz 700MHz 512MB GDDR3 $599
X1800 XL 16 550MHz 625MHz 512MB GDDR3 $499
X1800 Pro 16 500MHz 500MHz 256MB GDDR3 $449
X1800 LE 12 450MHz 450MHZ 256MB GDDR3 $349

Common features to all R520 based boards include the new 90nm lead free manufacturing process, a Xilleon based TV encoder, SM3.0, H.264 decode acceleration and CrossFire support. Also expect to see HDTV options for all 90nm ATI cards in the near future, although they may be limited to the All In Wonder series for R520.

At the top end is the Radeon X1800 XT; this 16-pipe R520 will feature a 600MHz core clock, with a 256-bit memory bus connected to 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 700MHz. The 600MHz core clock will give it a lower fill rate than the GeForce 7800 GTX (24-pipes at 430MHz), while the 700MHz memory clock will give it more memory bandwidth than the stock GTX (600MHz). Much like the GTX, the X1800 XT will be priced at $599. The X1800 XT will feature two DVI outputs with HDCP support. The lower fillrate seems alarming at first, but consider several factors. First of all, ATI's traditional core design can do "more" per clock cycle (at least on the R420 design) than NVIDIA. Secondly, R520 has a lot of little tweaks including hardware asissted H.264 decoding. Just last week, we also received details about ATI's revamped memory controller which operates on an internal 512-bit ring bus. There is a lot to speculate about performance, but even with similar fill rates as NVIDIA, there is a strong possibility that other workings in R520 will differentiate the card on a real world performance level.

Next up is the Radeon X1800 XL, which is positioned between the GeForce 7800 GTX and the 7800 GT. The XL drops the core clock down to 550MHz, and the memory clock down to 625MHz. Other than the lower clock speeds, the XL is identical to the XT, meaning it still has 512MB of GDDR3 memory connected to a 256-bit memory bus. The X1800 XL will be priced at $499. Both the X1800 XT and X1800 XL appear to be dual-slot designs from previous roadmaps and existing box art. The roadmap also details that there will be HDCP support for the X1800 XL and X1800 XT via Texas Instrument's TFP513PAP DVI transmitter.

Priced at $449, we have the X1800 Pro, once more a 16-pipe R520 design but this time the core runs at 500MHz. The Radeon X1800 Pro only has 256MB of memory, also running at 500MHz, but still retains the same 256-bit memory bus. What is interesting about the Radeon X1800 Pro is that its fill rate and memory bandwidth appear to be identical to that of NVIDIA's GeForce 7800GT; coincidentally, so does its price. The reference design for the X1800 Pro features a single VGA and a single DVI connector, with no HDCP support.

The last member of the R520 family is the Radeon X1800 LE, which disables four of the pipelines of the R520 taking it down to a 12-pipe design. The LE runs at 450MHz with 256MB of 450MHz GDDR3 memory. Once again we're dealing with a 256-bit memory bus, and this time a $349 price tag. The outputs are identical to the X1800 Pro. Both the Pro and LE cards are single slot cooling design, thanks to their lower running clock speeds.

According to our roadmaps, it looks like ATI will abandon the "vanilla" nomenclature for future products. For example, instead of a plain X1800, instead we will get an X1800 LE. Likewise, on our previous roadmaps components that were named with the non-XT non-LE non-Pro non-XL name will thus become "LE" parts. Certainly a good move on ATI's behalf, as "vanilla" X800 cards are hard enough to explain to readers.

The roadmap also refers to R580, and that the card is working in-house at the moment. R580 is essentailly a clock ramp and pipe ramp of R520, but both of those details have not been disclosed yet (even to AIBs). Unforunately, the R580 will not ship at the same time as R520.



View All Comments

  • yacoub - Thursday, September 15, 2005 - link

    I can't WAIT 'til these are available ... so I can pick up an X800 XL dirt cheap! :D Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, September 15, 2005 - link

    Is it too much to ask for the editors to do a test of power consumption for at least mobile video cards?? If not desktop ones. Reply
  • quanta - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    According to Digitimes[1], XT. XL, LE has 32, 24, 16 pipelines respectively. Maybe ATI is using GeForce FX style of arranging pipelines, or splitting fragment shader from Raster OP engine?

  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    All we can say is that AnandTech has a source of information that is quite convincing and it states 16 pipelines for X1800 XT/XL and 12P for Pro. The Inquirer, Digitimes, etc. can report whatever they want, but we do not have their same sources, and our sources disagree with their sources right now. Time will tell who is correct. One of the goals of AnandTech is to do our best to report truth rather than rumor - or if we report rumor we make it clear that it is speculation and not fact. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    On the contrary - we have all the sources those guys do, and then some of course.

    The difference between AnandTech and other websites is we have a strict policy that we only publish on information that is internally documented, and we have a copy of the document. We don't publish information without a roadmap/memo/etc.

  • SimonNZ - Thursday, September 15, 2005 - link

    As i said before, in the last generation cards ATI cards, on a apples 2 apples comparsion eg x850xt pe v 6800 ultra ATI was simply better at running half life 2, the same went for nvidia in doom3, so it always not about what power you are putting out its about how efficient you use what youve got, so until benchmarks are out we can speculate all we want:) my money is on a even split across different benchmarks and games Reply
  • Stas - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    They better have more than 16. Otherwise it's a complete failure and no high frequencies will save them. I'm really looking forward to the new cards. And I hope they will continue the tradition and KICK nVIDIA's ASS! :) Reply
  • mistersnail - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link


    They better have more than 16. Otherwise it's a complete failure and no high frequencies will save them. I'm really looking forward to the new cards. And I hope they will continue the tradition and KICK nVIDIA's ASS! :)

    Altough I agree that it would be nice to see a continuous trend of general whoopage on ATI's part, I have to say that pipelines and even clockspeed have little affect on how performance turns out. It all depends on the design of the pixel and vertex pipes. A good example of this is the FX5800 (Blow Dryer Edition). The 9700 Pro had 8 pixel pipes, 4 vertex pipes, and 256bit/DDR memory bus running at 325MHz/620MHz. The 5800 Ultra had a 4x2 pixel pipes, 3 vertex pipes, and had a 128bit/DDR2 which ran at 500MHz/1GHz. The 9700 Pro blew the FX5800 completely out of the water just because it had a better design. Even though the clocks were high, pure ingenuity came out on top. The same will (or won't, it's yet to be determined) happen here.

    Just because the R520 may be a 16pp design, it doesn't mean that it'll be inferior to a 24pp design. Personally, I think the R520 will have more vertex processing power due to the high clockspeed. Assuming they use 8 vertex pipes, the R520's 8x600MHz is a lot better than the G70's 8x430MHz. Yet again, maybe the R520's vertex pipes will be weaker than the G70's and it'll all balance or. Who knows? Anand does...
  • SimonNZ - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    I guess it also worth taking into consideration what next-gen games are optimized to run on ATI or Nvidia archecture....just like half life 2 and doom 3, either way this dosn't look like the monster of I card i was hoping to see Reply
  • tayhimself - Wednesday, September 14, 2005 - link

    X800 X800GT X800GTO X800XL X800 X800XL X800XT X800XTPE X800XT X850XT PE X850

    Now only 3 X1800?? What a shoame

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