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  • Web Site: www.ati.com

    Price: $399

    The month is August of 1998, corduroy pants are once again a fad, and ATI has just unveiled their Rage 128 GL graphics processor. Games rendered in 16-bit color are still the rule, rather than the exception, but Matrox’ G200 and NVIDIA’s TNT have hit the streets and amazed the masses with the picturesque quality of 32-bit. Unfortunately, the performance penalty invoked is substantial, keeping frame rates relatively low. However, in August of 1998, ATI’s Twin Cache Architecture, SuperScalar Rendering, and advanced MPEG-2 decoding were just what the doctor ordered to set the 32-bit gaming world ablaze.

    August passed, as did September, October, November and December. Although OEM’s reportedly had their hands on Rage 128-based boards, several small problems kept them from oozing onto the retail market. Finally, around March of 1999, pre-orders were filled. By this time though, NVIDIA’s TNT2 was imminent and the Rage 128 would no longer have the impact that ATI had initially hoped for. Besides the usual flurry of design wins, ATI remained fairly quiet, biding their time and waiting for the design teams to finish their work on a fiendish new chip that would come to be known as the Radeon.

    Fast forward to the year 2000. Sure, we don’t all fly hovercraft and teleport to the market, but the graphics industry has come a long way since the TNT/Rage 128 era. It shouldn’t take anyone by surprise that ATI is once again in the position to cause some serious commotion and is handling it with a little more tact. By establishing a reasonable release date, ATI has sidestepped the embarrassing mistake made with the Rage 128. However, they still face NVIDIA and 3dfx for the performance crown. Will the extensive feature set of the Radeon overwhelm NVIDIA’s refined T&L and 3dfx’s impressive anti-aliasing?

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