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ATI readies 'Radeon Xpress' Athlon 64 chipset

Coming next month, apparently

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ATI will ship its first PCI Express chipsets next month, initially targeting AMD processors, followed by Intel-oriented versions in November.

And the new chipsets will ship under a new brand, Radeon Xpress.

So claims Anandtech, citing no sources so presumably basing its commentary on a peak or two at the graphics chip company's roadmaps. The report matches what an ATI official let slip a few weeks ago.

First out will be the Radeon Xpress 200G and 200P, both due to appear in October 2004, and 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 two versions are codenamed RC400 and RS400, respectively, Anandtech claims, though both will ship as the Radeon Xpress 200G - presumably ATI will differentiate the Intel parts from each other and the AMD-oriented 200G in due course. 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.

Further off, we see parts codenamed 'Kaleidoscope', but since details are scarce and the release date is more than a year away (Q1 2006), speculation is redundant.

Likely, it's a version pitched specifically at 'Longhorn', the next major Windows release, due sometime in 2006. But since Microsoft appears to be reconsidering the roll-out of a new compositing engine and the UI that's based upon it - both of which would require a DirectX 9-standard graphics engine - ATI's plans may change. ®

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