It's (almost) official: ATI will launch the Radeon X1800 - aka R520 - on Wednesday, 5 October.
Put it this way, the graphics chip company has placed a timer on its website that's counting down to something. Right now, that something is 11 days 22 hours or so away, which takes us to 5 October.
Beneath the timer is the cryptic equation d/t = V, but there's no other indication as to what will take place when the timer hits zero.
It's hard to imagine ATI making such a fuss over anything other than the X1800 or the equally anticipated - and similarly much-delayed - CrossFire.
If the time is indicating the X1800 launch, it will come almost a week after the product is supposed to arrive on store shelves. Earlier this week, ATI said TSMC had begun volume production of its 90nm chips - exactly the process the R520, RV530 and RV515 are known to be fabbed using - and that it "expects the latest cards to begin arriving on store shelves by the end of September".
Then again, with Nvidia launching its mobile GeForce Go 7800GTX on the previous Wednesday, maybe ATI wants to create some space in which its new baby can really shine. The 7800GTX is now expected to debut on 28 September.
In addition to DirectX 9 Shader Model 3.0 support, the new GPUs are expected to support H.264 video decoding and feature a unified shader architecture. They are likely to clock "around 50 per cent higher than products manufactured on older processes", according to the joint statement with TSMC. ®