AMD Releases High-End Radeon 6800 Series

AMD on Thursday unveiled its Radeon 6800 series chips for gamers. Radeon's first chips without the ATI brand name are available from retailers worldwide.

The much-anticipated Radeon 6800 offers 30 percent greater game performance compared to AMD's nearest competitors, according to the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor firm.

"We have a significant lead over our competitors in terms of time-to-market," David Cummings, director of product management for AMD's GPU Division, said in an interview with CRN. "We were quite aggressive in adopting new technology, whether its 45nm technology or DirectX 11 support. It’s a tribute to our engineers that we met those execution goals.

"3D technology is becoming more and more mainstream," Cummings added." Not every notebook will have 3D technology, but the 3D market is becoming more popular and more affordable. "

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The Radeon cards feature AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology and AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing. AMD also promises improved power management and efficiency from the latest Radeon models. DirectX 11 visualization technology improves the detail and fluidity of graphics from various chipmakers through tessellation and multi-threading.

Next: AMD Looks For "Sweet Spot" Pricing

AMD is looking to recreate the same value proposition as the ATI Radeon 4800 series, which it referred to as the original ’sweet spot’ products, the company said.

The $179-239 price range usually brings in the most customers, many of whom look to upgrade their cards every two years or so, Cummings told CRN. For those customers, Cummings said the AMD Radeon 6800 series represents a 3 to 4x upgrade in performance as well as lower power consumption and pricing.

The Radeon cards are available as an upgrade as well as a complete system from system builders. Though AMD dropped the ATI brand in August ahead of the release of the new 6000 series, previously available cards will retain the ATI name as AMD did not want to disrupt the channel by changing the current brand on existing cards and packaging, Cummings said to CRN.

Among the partners AMD is relying on to offer the complete package around the Radeon cards are a dozen or so add-in-board companies including ASUS, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, Force3D, GIGABYTE, HIS (Hightech Information Systems), MSI, PowerColor, SAPPHIRE Technology, VisionTek and XFX, according to a statement from AMD.