ATI is starting to churn out supplies of its next generation chips, both for the Xbox 360 and the PC.
According to reports on the Inquirer (here
) the third tape-out of the R520 graphics processor has gone according to plan - finally! Whilst the first two goes resulted in wafers coming back that didn't have enough working chips on them, this time around each wafer is yielding enough chips to make full-on production viable.
What we still don't know is whether R520 is going to be 24 or 32 pipes - we have a sneaking suspicion that it will be 32. But you can rest assured that Nvidia will have their 7800 Ultra part waiting in the wings for whenever ATI choose to launch the R520.
Of course, the problem for ATI is that Nvidia have really raised the bar for launches, shipping the 7800 the same day they launched it. If ATI are to avoid looking like poor relations, they're going to have to do the same - and that's going to mean waiting until September.
In the meantime, IBM are ramping up production of the Xenos chip that will be in the Xbox 360. Don't expect such problems on this: they're already shipping out cards to developers who are working on the first batch of games for the 360.
However, still no news on the appearance of Crossfire on the shelves. Last we heard, ATI were having some problems with the compositing chip. There appears to be the distinct possibility that we won't see Crossfire until R520 starts to appear, despite the launch last month.
In related news, if you're looking to buy a 360 for the Holiday season, get your pre-orders down now - big stores are starting to sell out already
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on the ramp-up!