Today, graphics manufacturer ATI announced its new Radeon X850 series and two new Radeon X800 video cards. The new Radeon X850 series includes the $399 Radeon X850 Pro, the $499 Radeon X850 XT, and the $549 Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition. The Radeon X850 XT and the Radeon XT Platinum Edition replace the Radeon X800 XT and X800 PE cards as ATI's two fastest video cards.
ATI also introduced two technology demos at its Radeon X850 series launch event held last night in San Francisco. The Ruby "Dangerous Curves" demo places the ATI heroine in a tunnel chase scene where she must fight off robotic pursuit droids. Crytek was also on hand to show a new demo titled The Project, built on the CryEngine, which serves as an extended prologue to the Far Cry story.
The new Radeon X850 series consists primarily of incremental engine and memory clock speed increases, but improved manufacturing techniques should help increase product availability, which has been a problem with the sometimes-hard-to-find Radeon X800 XT PE.
All of the new cards feature the Radeon X series technology, which includes 3Dc for normal map compression technology, advanced GDDR3 memory, and Pixel Shader 2.x support, and hardware video processing. Specific card variations will also offer dual-DVI output to support multiple LCD displays as well as video-in, video-out capabilities.
ATI has also expanded its Radeon X800 line with the Radeon X800 XL and the Radeon X800. The two new Radeon X800 series cards, priced at $249 and $349, respectively, will compete directly with Nvidia's $299 GeForce 6800 and $399 GeForce 6800 GT cards.
The new ATI video cards will initially only be available in PCI Express format. ATI has not announced AGP versions yet, but industry observers expect to see units in the first quarter of 2005.
The Radeon X800 XT PE is shipping now, and the rest of the cards should begin shipping late December to early January.
For benchmark results and more information about the ATI Radeon video cards, check out GameSpot's ATI Radeon X850 XT PE hands-on preview.