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ATI to announce R520 'in June'

Sapphire rep names the date

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ATI will announce its next-generation graphics chip, the R520, early in June, possibly during the Computex show in Taiwan.

So claims graphics card maker Sapphire, whose local marketing chief was interviewed recently by Middle Eastern gaming site T-Break.

"As per the current plans, we expect ATI to announce its new GPU in June," the site quotes Daniel Foster, Sapphire's EMEA Marketing Manager as saying.

The 90nm R520 has been claimed separately to support up to 32 pixel processing pipelines - double the number in today's high-end ATI graphics chips. How many ATI will enable at launch remains to be seen - much will depend on the performance boost provided and, crucially, how many chips the company can ship with fully-working pipelines.

Foster also mentioned ATI's answer to Nvidia's SLI, though his comments - which suggest ATI's is the more flexible of the two solutions - were truncated.

ATI's implementation, in which two PCI Express graphics cards co-operatively render each frame, is believed to operate across the PCI-E bus, negating the need for a direct connection between the two boards as per SLI. That connector-less operation could certainly be what Foster means by "flexibility".

A Pentium 4 motherboard apparently incorporating ATI's version of SLI was put on display at last month's CeBIT show by Asus. The board was based on ATI's RD400 chipset, and is expected to ship later this quarter, possibly targeting Intel's upcoming dual-core desktop processors. ®

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