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ATI CEO confirms AMD PCI-E chipsets shipping

Wating to get the volumes up before announcing product

ATI has already begun shipping its AMD-oriented PCI Express chipsets, CEO Dave Orton revealed during the company's Q4 results conference call last night.

Of course, ATI has yet to announce its Radeon Xpress chipsets formally, but Orton expressed the company's happiness with the interest its customers have shown in the products.

"We're quite encouraged in the early stages," said Orton, professing himself and the company to be "very excited" with the chipsets' "initial customer reception".

So if ATI is shipping already, how come there hasn't been a formal launch? "We want to be very cautious on this one because we want to show it in the results this time," Orton explained.

In other words, ATI doesn't want to announce the product until it's got volume shipment going - an approach seemingly in marked contrast to the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition launch, which has still to appear on the market in significant numbers.

That in turn suggests that while Radeon Xpress parts are shipping, they're doing so in limited numbers.

Orton said the company would be formally announcing "Radeon IGP products... for Intel and AMD platforms soon".

"Stay tuned this quarter for more information," he suggested.

According to reports on the web, first out will be the Radeon Xpress 200G and 200P, better known as the RS480 and RX480, respectively. The 200G incorporates an RV370 graphics core - the same core that's behind the Radeon X600 and X300 - while the 200P offers no integrated graphics, as expected.

AMD-based PC vendors and their customers are apparently much keener on add-in graphics cards than their Intel equivalents, so ATI's decision makes sense.

Both parts will support a range of HyperTransport bus speeds, to ensure compatibility with a variety of Opteron/Athlon 64/Sempron processors.

ATI will follow these two chips with the RS482 in April 2005, a Radeon Express 200G variant that adds component video output. A separate South Bridge update is noted for February 2005, which updates the original's AC 97 audio to Intel High-Definition Audio. Whether it will be added then, or when the RS482 ships, isn't yet clear.

The Radeon Xpress chipsets for Intel processors will appear in November, again with RV370 graphics cores, but with a choice of single- or dual-channel DDR 2 SDRAM support. The dual-channel part offers component video out.

The RC400 will be updated to the RC410 in April 2005, when the chipset is remade using a 110nm process. ®

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