AMD Puts Nvidia On Notice With 4870 X2 Graphics Card

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It's "the world's fastest graphics card," according to AMD, which has priced the initial shipments at $549. The "ultra-enthusiasts" targeted by the 4870 X2 now have a choice between AMD's very best and discrete graphics leader Nvidia's edge video card -- the 1GB GeForce GTX 280, which could be had Tuesday on at prices in the $450 range.

AMD can now legitimately claim to have an answer to Nvidia's top-shelf products for probably the first time since the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker acquired ATI Technologies in 2006. If market share follows, it would put a much-needed positive spin on a merger that has thus far garnered far more headlines for the hurt it's put on AMD's financials than for the market's embrace of AMD-ATI products.

AMD is certainly banking on a major win with its 4800 series of products. In addition to the 4870 X2, the $399 ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 was released Tuesday. In late June, AMD unveiled its first product in the 4800 series, the sub-$200 Radeon HD 4850 and followed up a week or so later with the more powerful 4870, priced at around $300.

The 4800 X2 series, until recently known by the code name R700, builds on the dual-GPU technology AMD developed with its Radeon HD 3800 X2 products, which also come in two flavors, the 3850 X2 and 3870 X2. The two 4800 X2 cards get their cross-GPU performance boosted from technology based on the PCIe Generation 2 standard. AMD continues to lead the industry with its 55nm process technology for graphics chips and remains ahead of the game in supporting DirectX 10.1.

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