If ATI Won a Round, Would Anyone Notice?

It would probably come as no surprise to even the most casual PC hardware enthusiast that Nvidia has been dominating the high end graphics card market for going on two years now. What was the years-running battle of ATI and Nvidia, each leapfrogging the other with a faster card every six months, seems to be […]

It would probably come as no surprise to even the most casual PC hardware enthusiast that Nvidia has been dominating the high end graphics card market for going on two years now. What was the years-running battle of ATI and Nvidia, each leapfrogging the other with a faster card every six months, seems to be a thing of the past. The R600, ATI’s long awaited DirectX10 card, was ATI’s last hope for remaining an option on the high-end enthusiast’s shopping list. Seriously delayed, when the R600 finally arrived last month (as the officially named ATI Radeon HD 2900XT) the press was… less than kind.     

  • "ATI Radeon HD 2900 XTX, doomed from the start."
    • DailyTech
  • "...the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, in our opinion, is a flop."
    • [H]ardOCP
  • "Sometimes it has a hard time keeping up with a 320MB 8800GTS..."
    • -Guru3D
The Radeon HD 2900XT got the kind of press normally only reserved for unrepentant hotel heiresses convicted of multiple DUIs. It got its butt kicked at almost every press outlet. Instead of being ATI’s great hope for DX10 performance titles in the future, it’s been relegated to the bargain-card bin.    
  • "That boy was our last hope."
    • -Ben Kenobi
  • "No. There is another."
    • -Yoda

What other hope? I must be shamelessly quoting Yoda hypothetically, in a cheap pop-culture reference to some future card ATI PR is now saying will make .5 past lightspeed. It’s obvious that ATI lost this round. Isn’t it?     
        
What if ATI won a round, and not even ATI noticed?
       
This is of course, impossible. If ATI had a winner product their PR department would be crowing about it to the heavens. That’s what PR does, over-hypes wins and spins losses. Even if every other part of a company has problems, PR still manages to fill the world with FUD. You know PR guys - they’re full of it. [Disclaimer: I do most of the PR for Falcon] There’s just no conceivable way the ATI Radeon HD 2900XT card was anything but a disappointment or we would’ve heard about it somewhere.
   
Did I read those benchmarks right?

Yes. This is Falcon’s fastest ATI Crossfire based system put up against our own fastest SLI based system that PC Magazine had reviewed less than two months earlier. The testing was done under Windows Vista 32-bit. And yes, our ATI based system destroyed the Nvidia based system. Even given that Nvidia had made driver improvements in between the time these two systems were benchmarked, these scores aren’t even close. Prey at 2560 resolution was almost twice as fast on ATI than it was on Nvidia. Company of Heroes at 2560 was more than twice as fast. And we couldn’t clock the CPU on the Intel/ATI combo as high as we could on the Nvidia motherboard. Want to see the full story for yourself? Here’s the link to the PC Magazine review

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ATI, Nvidia, Graphics Card, GPUs