Next generation ATI
With talk about the Voodoo 5 and GeForce 2 currently dominating the video card scene, you might think that this current generation of graphics cards is only a two horse race. Those that have been keeping up with the 3D industry know that there's still one player left: ATI.
Granted, ATI isn't famous for putting out powerhouse 3D accelerators. ATI is probably best known for packing its cards full of features. ATI's All-in-Wonder brand of cards can be best described as the Swiss Army knives of the graphics industry. They aren't the biggest or the sharpest, but they have a whole lot of features.
ATI made a move on the high-end market last fall with the Rage Fury MAXX, but the card was quickly swept away by the Savage2000 and the GeForce 256. ATI has come back with a far more powerful offering this time around.
We first mentioned ATI's next-generation chip in the first part of our GDC (Game Developers Conference) report. At the time, ATI only shared enough information about the chip's feature set to convince us that they had a true next-gen part.
We were told that the new chip would support T&L and could process three textures per pixel. Of course, that immediately caught our attention. ATI wasn't ready to reveal the card's fill rate yet, so we were unable to get a speed rating, a pixel pipeline count, or even a confirmation on the memory type.
Fortunately, we only had to wait another month to discover this information. ATI finally announced its Radeon 256 graphics processor on April 24th at WINHEC in New Orleans. We had our Radeon article up the same day. ATI revealed that the Radeon would have a dual-pixel pipeline and be able process three textures per pixel. ATI also confirmed that the Radeon would support DDR memory to satisfy bandwidth needs.
The Radeon specifications certainly sound impressive, but we all know the proof is in real world performance. ATI visited our offices last week and gave us our very own Radeon card for testing. Read on to find out more about the card that's going up against the GeForce 2 and the Voodoo 5!