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ATI follows up with new middle-tier Radeon X1800 GTO

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ATI follows up with new middle-tier Radeon X1800 GTO

Markham (ON) – Ensuring that it doesn’t get left out of today’s headlines, especially with a thunderstorm of new products emerging from Nvidia at CeBIT today, ATI is demonstrating that it, too, can define new performance leaders in several categories simultaneously, with the announcement of its mid-tier Radeon X1800 GTO.

Adopting a name that perhaps John DeLorean would have loved, the GTO represents the desktop equivalent of the Mobility Radeon X1800 announced just last Tuesday, with 12 pixel shaders, 8 vertex shaders, and 256 Mb of GDDR3 as frame buffer. Its engine speed is clocked at 500 MHz, with memory speed at 1 GHz. Like its notebook equivalent, the X1800 GTO’s key selling point in terms of user experience is the merger of anti-aliasing with high-contrast, high definition rendering (HDR), which ATI has been touting all week as a real-world distinction between its products and Nvidia’s.

Tom’s Hardware Guide’s Darren Polkowski conducted a thorough review of the GTO, along with the top-tier performance cards also announced today. What he found was a scaled-down R520 GPU, perhaps not as versatile as one might expect from a top-tier card, but at $249, quite adequate for someone who’s looking to boost the performance of an existing system while avoiding a larger investment in motherboard replacement.

A quick read of the graphics card department at TG Forumz, which Darren moderates, shows a growing number of readers who believe that now is the best time in history to purchase a graphics card. No, this isn’t a cheap segue to a product pitch. Some years ago, mainstream graphics cards were predominantly made up of old top-performance cards, some of whose features were incompatible with the motherboards of the day. Now, instead of substantiating an entire product category with aged inventory, graphics card manufacturers instead use older, stockpiled components – such as ATI’s R520 chip that powers the X1800 GTO – in newer packages that are better suited to today’s equipment. This makes for a more desirable product spectrum across the board, the theory goes, not just because whatever you choose is at least somewhat new, but also have at least some up-to-date features.