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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
ATI Delivers New CrossFire Gaming Platform

ATI Technologies Inc. introduced today its CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset promising gamers pure performance and advanced overclocking capabilities.

ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset-the first single chip with 32 (2x16) PCI Express lanes - will allow up to 60 per cent overclocking with standard air-cooling systems, without changing the default voltage settings.

According to ATI, the new chip is designed from the ground up, and is not an enhanced version of earlier chipsets, unlike Nvidia's Nforce4 SLI X16. Nvidia's core logic adds a second chip to the original Nforce4 SLI chipset to gain the additional PCI Express bandwidth needed for dual PCIe x16 graphics card support. ATI claims the single-chip implementation eliminates potential bottlenecks inherent in the two-chip Nvidia configuration.

The chipset will support AMD Socket 939 processors, including single-core Athlon 64 CPUs and dual-core Athlon 64 X2 models. It also features a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, two Firewire ports and support for up to eight 3Gbps Serial ATA devices. It supports up to eight USB 2.0 ports, up to seven PCI slots and up to to four parallel-ATA peripherals.

ATI also noted that the new chipset offers enough bandwidth to support entry-level and midrange CrossFire solutions. Users can choose to use a pair of X1300 or X1600 based graphics cards. Unlike the higher-end X1800 and X1900 CrossFire solutions, which need a special "master" card from ATI, users can use pairs of X1300 or X1600 cards from any manufacturer.

Motherboards using the CrossFire Xpress 3200 will start shipping immediately. Initial motherboard launch partners include ASUS, Sapphire, ABIT, DFI and PCPartner. Prices for motherboards are expected to range between $150 and $240, depending on feature set. ASUS has begun shipping the ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe, at an estimated street price of $199.

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