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Product : Radeon 9000 Pro
Company : ATI Technologies
Author : Ryan 'MrB' Ku
Date : August 29th, 2002


On July 17th, ATI launched two new cards that aimed to bring stellar visual processing to their respective market segments. The Radeon 9700 in the high-end spectrum and the Radeon 9000 series for the all important mainstream market. Why is it important? Because the mainstream segment accounts for the majority of sales for all video card manufacturers, and that means big revenue.

ATI has continually worked to drive advanced features from their high-end parts into the more reasonably priced mainstream boards. ATI Radeon 9000 Pro borrows many of the features from its older sibling Radeon 8500 and the now released 9700 will be the role-model for the more-resonably priced 9500 when it is released. ATI Radeon 9000 Pro is the first mainstream product with full DirectX 8.1 support. This level of technology needs to be spread quickly among the mainstream users so the developers can design more games for DX8 level graphics instead of DX7.

With the launch of these new products, ATI introduces the term Visual Processing Unit (VPU) to describe all of their new video products. 3Dlabs was the first to introduce this nomenclature with the release of their P10 video chipset but I think they use it in a different meaning than ATI. 3DLabs used the term VPU to imply programmability of their new chip, ATI on the other hand is using VPU to describe the whole range of video processes their products do, ranging from the Imageon 100 to the Radeon 9700. The Radeon 9000 not only accelerates video games but also DVDs, dual monitors, etc. Acronyms are a dime a dozen!

The Radeon 9000 is a hybrid of technologies mostly derived from ATI's 8500 line but also some parts have been inherited from the 9700. Let's see what the engineers at ATI have hacked and slashed together.

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