Skip to main content

25 Years Of Graphics History: A Farewell To ATI, In Pictures

2006 • X1650 Pro: The Mediocre Mid-Range

2006 • X1650 Pro: The Mediocre Mid-Range

ATI tried to do battle with the seventh-generation GeForce cards using its Radeon X1650 Pro, even if only in the mid-range segment.

2006 • X1950 XTX: The Late High Flyer

2006 • X1950 XTX: The Late High Flyer

Out of the way! It's late, but here it comes anyway: the fat Big Block from ATI. Using the X1950 XTX, ATI swept away all GeForce 7-series cards from Nvidia and grabbed the performance crown. It was popular and extremely fast, but also hot and expensive.

Altogether, the Radeon X1950 XTX is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to remember the times ATI has beaten its competitor (Ed.: I don't know about that; I always think back to R300, personally).

The GeForce 8800 was the first card able to stand up to it, but that was an impressive card in itself. And thus began the history of graphics cards with unified shader architectures.

2007 • HD 2600 Pro: Unified Shader, Light Edition

2007 • HD 2600 Pro: Unified Shader, Light Edition

The GeForce 88xx series did not face much opposition from AMD's high-volume Radeon HD 2600 Pro. Even the 8600 GTS did not have much to fear, really.

However, the ATI card did offer the possibility of outputting audio directly through the DVI output for the first time. Not a bad argument for the first HTPCs. Manufacturers like HIS set new standards with powerful and quiet cooling solutions.

2007 • HD 2900 XT: The Blown GeForce Hunter

2007 • HD 2900 XT: The Blown GeForce Hunter

With brutal raw performance, the fanboys were not the only ones surprised that this card hopelessly lagged behind when it was launched. Only much later, with better drivers, was it able to make up ground. It was loud, hot and in the end not overly successful.

2007 • HD 3850: The Third Attempt

2007 • HD 3850: The Third Attempt

ATI did not exactly create a powerhouse with the Radeon HD 3850, but it was still a good all-around card. Speed-wise, it stood no chance against competing GeForce cards. But a reasonable price tag made it a popular mid-range volume product.

2007 • HD 3850 AGP: Niche Solution Instead Of Peak Power

2007 • HD 3850 AGP: Niche Solution Instead Of Peak Power

Take a bridge chip and make a modern PCIe card AGP-compatible again. It was a great concept, but suffered from mediocre drivers. It was never able to take advantage of the latest Catalyst drivers, so customers either went with the AGP competition or gave up on the interface altogether.

2008 • HD 3870 X2: Tag Team, Back Again

2008 • HD 3870 X2: Tag Team, Back Again

It took a very serious card to even attempt breaking through Nvidia's GeForce dominance at this point. After all, by now, G80 had turned into an even more efficient G92.

Fortunately for ATI, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 was enough to take back the performance crown, even if it took a considerate amount of silicon to address the issue. Power consumption was not this board's strong suit, needless to say.

2008 • HD 3850 X2: An Exotic From Asus

2008 • HD 3850 X2: An Exotic From Asus

Asus designed its own card with two Radeon HD 3850 chips, but failed to attract much interest from buyers.

2008 • HD 4670: The Mid-Range, Redefined

2008 • HD 4670: The Mid-Range, Redefined

Without any additional power connectors, the low-power HD 4760 was an interesting card from ATI adopted by the HTPC crowd. Even Assassin’s Creed ran quite fluidly at 1680x1050.

2008 • HD 4870: Extremely Popular, Just As Affordable, And At Least As Hot

With its Radeon HD 4870, ATI had done it again, approaching the performance crown. It overtook Nvidia's competing cards in a few benchmarks, but the bigger news was that the company was back.

A slightly lower price made up for any shortcomings, such as higher idle power consumption and heat generation.

  • tacoslave
    I guess it makes the whole fusion thing a little less confusing for those not in the know.
    Reply
  • clownbaby
    I like the retrospect. Brings back a lot of fond memories.
    Reply
  • sideshowbob32
    Ha brings back a few memory's i still have a ATI 9600 in my part stash, and my 4890s still perform grate in CF. But will miss having a ATI logo
    Reply
  • joelmartinez
    my only ati card: 5850
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    my list of ati cards

    7200 se
    9600 pro
    x800 xl
    2x hd 2900xt
    hd 4850

    none of them failed

    not a fanboy... just a fan of quality products

    ...i'll still mumble ati before reading radeon...
    Reply
  • Time and tide wait for no man... Stronger survives
    Reply
  • longshotthe1st
    8mb Rage2
    64mb 7200
    128mb 9600
    1gb 5850 (couple nvidia in between)
    Reply
  • Nintendork
    And HD5970 strill reign supreme as the macho alfa. HD6990, pronto.
    Reply
  • NuclearShadow
    Farewell ATI while you've been owned by AMD for sometime now it was always nice to at-least see the name. I'm a lucky one that can remember those earliest products. Sleep well old friend.
    Reply
  • agnickolov
    Interesting how ATI's probably biggest success against nVidia wasn't even mentioned - Radeon 9700 Pro. That card completely obliterated its GeForce FX 5800 competitor and was superior even to the GeForce FX 5900 successor! At least its 9800 Pro successor is there...
    Reply