MWSF: IMG Talks with ATI
9:19 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story
At Macworld Expo, IMG spoke with ATI’s Senior Product Manager for Mac Products, Stanley Ossias, and Public Relations Manager Patricia MacDonald regarding the Radeon 7000 Mac Edition and Radeon 8500 Mac Edition.
The meeting started off with a presentation of the Radeon 7000. The 7000, which was formerly the Radeon VE, is being aimed at cost-conscious gamers who own older PCI Macs and users who need an inexpensive video card to drive a second (or third) monitor.
Although the core clock and memory speeds of the 7000 are faster than the original Radeon Mac Edition (183 MHz vs 166 MHz), the 7000 is a slower card due to the elimination of one rendering pipeline and the lack of a transform, clipping, and lightning (TCL) engine. It does retain the 32 MB of double data rate (DDR) memory, "Hyper Z" memory bandwidth-saving technology, and hardware DVD acceleration.
The 7000 features a DVI digital flat panel connector and an S-video output as well as a 15-pin VGA output. All the necessary adapters and cables are included in the retail box. A PCI Macintosh (with either 33 or 66 MHz PCI slots), QuickTime 5, and OpenGL 1.2.2 is required. The $129 Radeon 7000 is compatible with Mac OS 9 and X and is shipping now.
Hardcore gamers will be heartened by the news that ATI’s flagship gaming product, the Radeon 8500, is finally coming to the Mac, with price and feature parity with its PC counterpart. It features 64 MB of DDR memory running at 275 MHz, the new Radeon 8500 graphics processing unit running at 250 MHz, four rendering pipelines, "Truform," and "Smoothvision."
A Truform-enabled version of Pangea’s Otto Matic was demonstrated, and the before and after images were stunning. Curved surfaces were smoother and rounder and the specular highlights appeared to be more realistic. Gamers who want to prepare for the next DOOM game will to happy to know the 8500 also supports "Smartshader" (programmable pixel and vertex shaders), "Charisma Engine II" (TCL), and "Pixel Tapestry II."
Unlike Nvidia’s GeForce3, the 8500 will be officially supported in Macs with 2x AGP but still take advantage of the 4x AGP slots of newer Power Macs. Of course, it will be Mac OS 9- and X-compatible. As with the 7000, the 8500 has dual monitor support, video output, and Mac OS 9 compatibility, all for the price for $299. It is expected to ship sometime in February.
Update: ATI surprised us with news that the driver set that will be released with the Radeon 8500 enables full-screen anti-aliasing (FSAA) in all their Radeon-based products in Mac OS 9 and X. This driver set will be available for download from ATI's web site when the 8500 is released. Unfortunately, gamers will not be able to enable anti-aliasing at will as was possible with 3dfx's Voodoo5. Instead, it will be up to developers to add support for FSAA in their games.
For more technical details on the Radeon 8500, check out our in-depth preview. Stay tuned to IMG for reviews of ATI's new hardware.
IMG Preview: Radeon 8500
IMG: ATI Radeon 8500 in the Flesh
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