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Tul hints at ATI Theater TV chip upgrade

Theater 650 Pro succeed 550 Pro?

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ATI appears to be preparing an update to its Theater graphics chip family, if an announcement by Taiwanese card maker Tul is anything to go by. Tul recently revealed what it would be showing at next month's CeBIT show. Among them a product based on "ATI's latest Theatre chipset".

According to ATI, that's the Theater 550 Pro. Yet, Tul's product is dubbed the Theatre 650 Pro. The company already has a Theatre 550 Pro, and its general insistence on naming its various cards after the ATI products on which they're based would suggest ATI has a Theater 650 Pro part in the works too.

The Theater 550 Pro chip was launched almost a year ago, in March 2005, so it's arguably up for a revival. More recently, the chip became the cornerstone of ATI's Avivo video processing technology, but ATI is expected to add HDMI support to its products.

Indeed, Tul also said it will show its PowerColor X1300 HDMI card. It didn't announce specifications - the reference to the Theatre 650 Pro card was short on such details too - and it didn't say whether the board will support HDCP, the controversial HD-oriented copy protection scheme.

Tul also pledged to show off what it claims will be the world's first liquid-cooled graphics card based on ATI's CrossFire multi-GPU technology at CeBIT next month, along with the company's first HDMI-equipped boards.

The PowerColor X1600 XT EVO2 package combines a pair of CrossFire cards and drops cooling fans on favour of a liquid cooling system. It's not clear whether the product overclocks the two X1600 XT GPUs beyond their customary 590MHz clock speed, but it seems likely. Asus, for one, already has X1600 XT-based boards with liquid-less, passive cooling. ®

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