ATI is in the final stage of testing its R580 graphics processor units with customers, sources at Taiwan graphics card makers indicated, adding that the graphics chip vendor expects to launch the flagship chip in early 2006.
ATI will also be enhancing its entry-level GPU product line on the 80nm production node, with new RV560, RV535, and RV505 chips.
The R580 will be ATI?s latest offering in its flagship GPU line, following the launch of the Radeon X1800 series in early October. The new chip, which entered the tape-out stage in the middle of the third quarter, is now in volume shipments for sampling, according to Digitimes.com
In the meantime, in an effort to compete with Nvidia's new Geforce 7800 GTX 512, ATI is expected to permit its partners to release overclocked versions of the currently available X1800XT's. The card will have a new BIOS and will be shipped with a special tool that will overclock it out of the box. The cards will run at 700MHz core and 1600MHz memory. Shipments are expected before Christmas holidays.