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Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday released a line of graphics cards capable of performing a trillion calculations per second, which is double the computing power of the company's previous generation of high-end cards.
The ATI Radeon HD 4850 and HD 4870, both generally available, represent the biggest generational increase in power for ATI products in six years, AMD said. The chipmaker acquired ATI, a maker of graphics processors, in 2006.
The cards reflect AMD's strategy of delivering cards for gaming at three separate prices: around $200 for the baseline card, about $300 for midlevel products, and $500-plus for the fastest GPUs. The HD 4850 sells for $199 and the HD 4870 for $299.
In a couple of months, AMD plans to ship a third card, code-named the R700, that will have two HD 4870 GPUs and will deliver the highest performance of any AMD ATI card. The R700 is expected to fall in the $500 pricing range.
The HD 4870 pushes 1.2 teraflops performance and has a GPU clock speed of 750 MHz and 512 MB of GDDR5 memory rated at 3.6 Gbps. The card comes in a dual-slot PCI Express 2.0 configuration and consumes 160 watts of power.
The HD 4850 offers 1 teraflop of visual computing power, a GPU clock speed of 625 MHz, and 512 MB of GDDR3 memory rated at 2 Gbps. The card comes in a single-slot PCI Express 2.0 configuration and consumes 110 watts of power.
AMD's major rival in the graphics business is Nvidia. In terms of performance to price, AMD is lining up the HD 4850 against Nvidia's 8800GT, 8800GTS, and 9600GT. The HD 4870 is expected to face off against Nvidia's 9800GTX, and the R700 against the 9800GX2 and the GT200.
Computer makers launching products using ATI Radeon HD 4800 series cards include ABS, Alienware, AMAX, Canada Computers, CyberPower, Extreme PC, Falcon-Northwest, iBUYPOWER, Maingear, Systemax, Ultra Gaming, and Velocity Micro, AMD said.