ATI to match Nvidia's GeForce 7800 volume launch - almost

Chicago (IL) - A long series of paper launches in the graphic chip industry came to an end when Nvidia shipped its product generation in volume on the day of announcement. ATI is likely to follow suit, Tom's Hardware Guide has learned: There will be plenty of entry-level and mainstream R5xx cards available in stores at launch. The flagship will follow within a few weeks.

Forget about shelling out premiums for the newest graphic chip generation. Nvidia's GeForce 6 and ATI's Radeon X8xx families could have been the last graphic chips that sold for almost twice the suggested retail price on the open market because of their limited availability. Sources told Tom's Hardware Guide that most versions of the upcoming R520 chips are likely to be available in "high" volume at launch.

Volume availability appears to mainly refer to the RV515 and RV530 graphics processors, which will cover the entry-level and the mid-range segment of the new product generation. Users waiting for the flagship R520 will have to wait "three to four weeks" after launch to get a graphics card with ATI's fastest new graphics chip into their hands. However, production yields apparently are much better than ATI originally had expected, sources indicated - which should enable a quick ramp of the chip.

So far there has been no indication when ATI will launch its new graphic chip generation. However, there is little doubt that an announcement is approaching quickly, as product names already were leaked to the media. As reported earlier, there will be at least three new products, including entry-level X1300 cards (based on the RV515 chip), mid-range X1600 cards (RV530) and high-end X1800 boards (R520).

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