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Pricing and Availability
In terms of availability, the RADEON 9500 PRO should begin hitting retail shelves next month, just in time for the Holiday shopping season. Officially the board will sell for $219 but ATI will be offering a $20 rebate on RADEON 9500 PRO boards bringing the price down to $199.
With third party manufacturers also producing RADEON 9500 PRO boards, weíre hoping boards will be priced even lower. Already RADEON 9700 PRO boards can be found for under $320. If street prices on RADEON 9500 PRO cards can hit the $150 mark by the end of this year, we see ATI and its partners selling lots of RADEON 9500 PRO products this Christmas.
The final product ATI is introducing today is the RADEON 9500. The RADEON 9500 shares the same clock frequencies as the RADEON 9500 PRO; the main difference lies in its 4-pixel pipeline architecture. As a result, fill rate drops from 2.2 Gigapixels/sec in RADEON 9500 PRO to 1.1 Gigapixels/sec in RADEON 9500.
One other key difference lies in RADEON 9500ís memory size. While RADEON 9500 PRO ships with 128MB of memory, RADEON 9500 cards will contain 64MB. And while it appears card manufacturers may deviate from ATIís spec by utilizing 550MHz memory (10MHz faster than reference) on their RADEON 9500 products, we donít expect them to offer cards with more than 64MB of memory. Quite simply, it doesnít make sense to offer the additional memory with RADEON 9500 boards currently listed for $179, $20 less than RADEON 9500 PRO.
Perhaps at some point we may see 128MB RADEON 9500 boards, but we wouldnít be surprised if most manufacturers decided to skimp on features with their RADEON 9500 parts in order to keep the price as small as possible. After all, in the segment the RADEON 9500 is competing in, price is very important. Like RADEON 9700, RADEON 9500 boards are expected to begin shipping later this month; Gigabyte has already announced their GV-R9500 card that is based on the RADEON 9500 core.
Testing the RADEON 9700
While we donít have a RADEON 9700 card to test with today, we do have ATIís RADEON 9700 PRO. And since the RADEON 9700 utilizes the same core as the RADEON 9700 PRO, all we have to do is adjust the clock speeds of the RADEON 9700 PRO to simulate the performance of RADEON 9700, giving you a glimpse of what RADEON 9700 will offer once itís available.