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ATI bumps up chip performance

The graphics chipmaker boosts its Radeon lineup, announcing chips that it claims offer up to three times better performance than its current product, for about the same price.

ATI Technologies boosted its Radeon graphics chip lineup on Tuesday, announcing processors that it claims offer up to three times better performance than its current product, for about the same price.

The graphics chipmaker announced its fastest-yet Radeon 8500 and mid-range Radeon 7500, which will hit the market next month. ATI plans to offer both chips on graphics boards.

The new 8500 is aimed at the high-end PC market and at game enthusiasts, the company said. The chip performs between two and three times faster than ATI's current Radeon VE, the company said.

Canada's ATI will ship the new chip on a graphics board in September with 64MB of double data rate SDRAM, a multiple monitor feature and support for Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 multimedia application-programming interface. The board is set to sell at retail for $399.

Meanwhile, the Radeon 7500 will target the mainstream PC market and will be about 60 percent faster than the current Radeon chip. The new chip will also be available on an ATI graphics board with 64MB of DDR SDRAM, dual monitor support and a TV out, which connects the graphics board to a television. The board is expected to sell for $199.

ATI purposely set prices for the new chips at about the same level as the Radeon cost a year ago, said Dave Orton, ATI chief operating officer.

Recently, ATI has seen its market share erode somewhat due to aggressive moves by archrival Nvidia. However, ATI has said it hopes to sign more than 18 new contracts with PC makers by the fall, a move that would bolster its market share.

On Tuesday, the company also announced Fire GL 8800, a new graphics chip and graphics board combination aimed at the mid range of the workstation market. It will ship in October, ATI said.

ATI will announce at a later date plans to offer the two Radeon chips in its Allinwonder Pro and mobile product lines, he said.