Those looking for the uBer 4870 or 4870x2 will have to wait just a bit longer. ATI wants to make sure it gets this series 'right'.
|We previously published several details about AMD’s next-generation graphics card lineup and as we get closer to the launch we are getting more details about the launch date, feature set and prices. The good news: The new boards will come with “physics processing capability” and prices that will start below $200 for a 512 MB board. The bad news: The 4800 series will launch after Nvidia’s GT200.
Yes, we know, we previously said that the 4800 series would launch in May, but as it stands right now, we won’t be seeing the first new cards until mid-June. According To AMD’s current introduction schedule, the Radeon 4800 series will launch in week 25, which puts the day of the introduction somewhere between June 15 and June 22. What is significant about this time frame is that ATI will trail Nvidia and their new high-end chip GT200.
This comes as a major surprise, because it was widely expected that ATI will debut its RV770 chip first, followed by Nvidia’s summer part. But as it stands right now, Nvidia has the pole position in a new round of the graphics wars. Of course, the GT200 and RV770 are actually not entirely comparable, because of their huge price difference. But performance-wise, we’re in for a possibly close race.
ATI’s Radeon 4800 series will be introduced in three flavors - as 4850, 4870 and 4870 X2. The company will also offer a “4850 256MB” (as opposed to 512 MB in other versions), but this SKU is a so-called "option" and is geared towards to the OEM/ODM/SI crowd to support them with cheaper parts for the back-to-school period and beyond.
|AMD will follow up in July and launch the Radeon 4870 512 MB GDDR5 and the 4870 X2 1024 MB GDDR5 (R700). The Radeon 4870 chip is built onto a board codenamed “Trojan” (could be named after a condom brand or a horse; we pick the latter) and comes with a dual-slot cooler, following the tradition of earlier XX70 boards. Our previous information about the memory buffer was a bit inaccurate, since the cost of Qimonda’s GDDR5 memory apparently was not compatible with the targeted pricing of these cards. The 4870 includes 512MB GDDR5 memory and surpasses upcoming Nvidia cards in terms of bandwidth. However, if any ATI partner wants to build a 1024 MB GDDR5 board, ATI will not say no, we were told. But don’t expect this to happen until early fall, since everybody wants to move as many units as possible.|
|Let’s talk about pricing. AMD decided to remain aggressive in an effort to win back market share. Pricing is actually set to a point where Nvidia is unlikely to be able to compete (that is at least what somebody is hoping for). Pricing guidelines are not finalized at this time, but according to several sources, the Radeon 4850 will succeed the 3850 512MB and should cost about $189-$219 at launch. Our sources indicated that 4870 GDDR5 cards will cost between $249 and $279, but somehow we feel that AMD might aim go for $199 and $249 at launch.|