Ah - Spring. Mystical time of rebirth. Nature's starting point in the cycle of the seasons. And, not to forget, that wondrous time of year when graphics companies, both Canadian and American, put their new chips on the table. And once again, the poker game for the biggest market share is in full swing. You could say that NVIDIA has already "played its cards" with the introduction of its new product line-up - the high-end FX 5800, the mid-range FX 5600, and the entry-level FX 5200. That means it's ATi's turn. Now ATi is playing its own trump card in the mid-range segment in the form of the Radeon 9600 and 9600 PRO, which should be available through the retail channel come May and are aimed squarely at NVIDIA's FX 5600 and FX 5600 Ultra.
Offering a very attractive price/ performance ratio, this market segment is the most interesting for the consumer. Aside from the low-cost OEM market, this is where the card makers must try hardest to gain and retain their slice of the pie. High-end cards, on the other hand, are more a matter of prestige than profit. The low quantities in which they are produced simply don't offer enough of a margin to get by on.