The specs of a Radeon 9800 Pro are well known: 380/680 MHz, 128 MB with 256-bit memory interface. Sapphire released a card called "Radeon 9800 Pro" running at non-pro speeds and with a slower 128-bit memory interface. Many consumers did not notice the sticker "128-bit" before the purchase.
A Sapphire custumer started a website to boycott the company after he bought one of the actual Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro cards at eBay and found out that his card was running too slow and featured a slower 128-bit memory interface instead of the standard 256-bit one a Radeon 9800 Pro normally has. Many internet shops also did not make clear that this card is running way below standard Radeon 9800 Pro specs.
Sapphire now reacted on the allegations and offers customers to return the card and upgrade to a "real" Radeon 9800 Pro for $25 - the regular price difference. Sapphire explains that they had put a "128-bit" sticker onto the retail box to reveal the lower performance of the card. Here's the full statement from Sapphire on the issue:
Since the roll-out of the SAPPHIRE 128-bit version of RADEON 9800 PRO core into the channel it has been brought to our attention that this model is being met with some confusion and for this we would like to extend our sincere apologies. Keeping with our level of interaction within the community, Sapphire is moving to alleviate said confusion by renaming the 128-bit version to the SAPPHIRE RADEON 9800 ATLANTIS and we are instructing each of our retail partners to clearly and prominently list the 128-bit specification. Further to this end, the SAPPHIRE RADEON 9800 ATLANTIS 128-bit products boxes will now be labeled with an oversized 128-bit sticker on the boxes face as well. Inquiries have been made into our retail partners and the investigation has yielded no findings that any of our loyal customers have been charged the 256-bit price for the 128-bit part. SAPPHIRE encourages any of our customers who purchased a 128-bit part under the assumption that it was 256-bit part to exercise your right to return your product. Should you have difficulty finding satisfaction with your retailer, SAPPHIRE continues to stand firmly behind our products and asks you to contact SAPPHIRE directly.
For end users in the U.S. who can not return the product to the supplier feel free to contact 909-594-3128. You will need to present the product, sales receipt and provide the discounted retail price difference of US$25.
For end users in Asia contact +852-2689-8888 and request the procedure for upgrade.
SAPPHIRE welcomes any and all inquiries into this matter in keeping with our commitment to our customers and welcomes the opportunity to continue to help outfit the gaming community with the industries most widely respected and innovative products.
The official statement can be found here .
It's nice to see that Sapphire finally reacts on the allegations but one can really wonder how they got the idea to name a low-spec card the same way than the standard model. Even the new name is misleading. Skipping the "Pro" out of the name is not enough in our opinion. A standard Radeon 9800 also has a 256-bit memory interface. The common 128-bit version is called Radeon 9800 SE !
If you're on to purchase a new 9800 card, you should always ask for the exact specs of the card!