The launch of the ATI HD 4850 marks the beginning of what most consider will be a brutal GPU war over the summer.
|Exclusive - Taipei (Taiwan) - AMD’s graphics team has put the finishing touches at its new GPU generation and actually has begun shipping the new 4850 card to OEM partners and retailers: The new Radeon series will sell for prices between $199 and $499.
According to information we came across in Taiwan, AMD/ATI is gunning for a sizeable launch of the new product generation, with Radeon 4850 512 MB boards leading the charge. However, the exact price has not been set yet, even if it is certain that the GDDR3 512 MB version (codenamed Makedon) will debut in a range between $179 and $219. If you ask us, we believe that the board be priced exactly at $199 (US, CAN) as well as 199 Euro.
We were told that AMD/ATI will decide on final pricing during the Computex tradeshow (which is scheduled to open on Monday) in order to have all the puzzle pieces for a June 18 in place. It certainly does not look like a paper launch at this time and the June 18 is an as-of-now date, since the company could revise is launch schedule to avoid a launch right on the heels of Nvidia’s new high-end parts.
The good news here is certainly that ATI is aiming for $199, sub-$299 and $499 price targets. However, the release dates of the faster SKUs may be problematic: Nvidia is working on new mainstream chips as well, which will debut in Q3 of this year, our sources indicate.
The Radeon 4870 512 MB is expected to ship in volume sometime this summer. This will be the first graphics card in the market to integrate GDDR5 memory. However, the 4870 X2, will face stiff competition from the GeForce GTX 260: Radeon 4870 X2 cards will sell for $499, while the GeForce GTX 260 is likely to debut at $449.
It is unclear whether ATI’s 480 and 960 shader units will be enough to capture market share in the targeted price ranges. All we know is that the game is on and the winner is yet to be decided. According to ATI partners, Nvidia still has a big advantage in its logistics division, both in sales and PR.