ATI to ship Radeon 9600 early

Pulled back from late May to April

ATI has brought forward the release of its Radeon 9600 chip. The part will now ship "later this month", the company said today - well ahead of the original late May target that it was talking about in the run-up to the chip's launch.

The 9600 is essentially a 0.13 micron die-shrink of the 0.15 micron 9500, with updated SmartShader and SmoothVision technology. It also runs faster than its predecessor. The mid-range part supports up to 128MB of DDR frame buffer memory via a 128-bit memory bus. It features four parallel rendering pipelines and two parallel geometry engines. It will ship in standard and "enhanced performance" Pro versions.

The change to the release schedule we gather no less a source than ATI senior marketing VP Rick Bergman, in comments made today when the company announced that the Radeon 9800 Pro has started to ship (see Reg Kit Watch).

For the reason, look no further than Nvidia's plan to introduce its next part, the NV35, in May, claim sources cited by DigiTimes. NV35 is expected to ship as an updated GeForce FX 5800, and deliver significant performance improvements over the current version of the chip, aka NV30. ®