ATI

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ATi Technologies produced graphics cards from the '80s through the mid '00s until merging with AMD in 2006. AMD still produces graphics cards today.

ATi Wonder Series

The ATi Wonder series represents some of the first graphics add on products for IBM PCs and compatibles introduced by ATi Technologies in the mid to late 1980s. These cards were unique at the time as they offered the end user a considerable amount of value by combining support for multiple graphics standards (and monitors) into a single card. The VGA Wonder series added additional value with the inclusion of a bus mouse port, which normally required the installation of a dedicated Microsoft Bus Mouse adapter.

The VGA Wonder series later merged with the ATI Mach series of cards in 1990. The ATi Graphics Ultra (VRAM) and ATi Graphics Vantage (DRAM) cards both featured independent VGA Wonder ASICs in addition to their Mach8 8514 compatible coprocessor chips. The Graphics Ultra was later renamed the VGA Wonder GT. In 1992, their following product line, the Mach32, integrated the VGA wonder core and coprocessor into a single IC. At this point the VGA Wonder line was cancelled and replaced with a cost reduced DRAM based version of Mach32 known as the "ATi Graphics Wonder".

Graphics Solution (CGA)

File:ATI Hercules Card 1986.xcf
One of the early graphics cards from ATI Technologies: a Graphics Solution Rev 3 Hercules graphics card from 1986. As can be seen from the PCB the layout was done in 1985, whereas the marking on the central chip CW16800-A says "8639" meaning that chip was manufactured week 39, 1986.

Release Date: 1986

ATi Graphics Solution Rev 3

ATi Color Emulation Card

ATi Graphics Solution plus (1987)

Graphics Solution Plus SP

  • Chipset: ATI CW16800-B
  • Adds Serial/Parallel Ports

Graphics Solution SR

  • Chipset: ATI CW16800-B
  • Uses Static RAM

ATi Small Wonder Graphics Solution (1988)

  • Chipset: ATI 18700
  • Also known as Graphics Solution Single Chip or just GS-SC
  • Single-chip version of the Graphics Solution plus
  • 64kb of static RAM
  • Composite Output

Graphics Solution Single Chip or GS-SC with Game (1988)

EGA Wonder

Release Date: 1987

ATi EGA Wonder (March 1987)

  • Chipset: ATI16899-0 + CHIPS P86C435
  • Supports CGA, Hercules mono & EGA graphics modes
  • Removes support for plantronics mode/Single-page Hercules mode/composite output
  • Compatible with MDA, CGA and EGA displays (DIP switch selectable)
  • Internal composite port for machines such as IBM 5155 Portable
  • 256kb DRAM
  • Port: 8-bit PC/XT bus
  • Original MSRP: $399

ATi EGA Wonder 800

  • Added support for extended EGA text and graphics modes (requires multisync monitor)
  • Added support for 16-colour VGA modes

ATi EGA Wonder 800+

  • Rebadged VGA Edge lacking the analogue VGA port
  • Chipset: ATI 18800
  • Can auto-detect monitor type connected (DIP switches no longer present)

VGA Wonder

Release Date: 1987

ATi VIP or VGA Improved Performance (1987)

  • Chipset: ATi 16899-0 & Chips P82C441
  • Supports CGA, Hercules mono, EGA & VGA graphics with Softsense automatic mode switching
  • Compatible with MDA, CGA, EGA and VGA displays (DIP switch selectable)
  • 9-pin TTL and 15-pin analogue connectors
  • 256kb DRAM
  • Port: 8-bit PC/XT bus
  • Original MSRP: $449 ($99 for Compaq expansion module)

ATi VGA Wonder (1988)

  • Chipset: ATI 18800
  • Adds support for SVGA graphics modes
  • Adds support for monitor auto-sensing (switchless configuration)
  • Uses on-board EEPROM to store configuration information
  • 256kb or 512kb DRAM
  • Port: 8-bit PC/XT bus

ATi VGA Edge 8

  • Cost Reduced VGA Wonder
  • 256KB DRAM

ATi VGA Wonder 16 (1988)

  • Speed enhancements due to a wider bus
  • VGA pass through connector
  • Bus mouse connector
  • 256KB or 512KB DRAM
  • Port: 16-bit PC/AT bus (ISA), 8-bit compatible
  • Original MSRP: $499 or $699 respectively

ATi VGA Edge-16

  • Cost reduced VGA Wonder 16
  • Lacks the bus mouse connector and the digital TTL output
  • 256kb DRAM (not expandable to 512kb)

ATi VGA Wonder+ (1990)

File:ATI Wonder.jpg
ATI VGA Wonder+
  • Chipset: ATI 28800-2, -4, or -5
  • Based on a new chipset which claimed to offer speeds rivalling VRAM based cards
  • Dual page mode memory access
  • Dynamic CPU/CRT interleaving
  • 256KB or 512KB DRAM

ATi VGA Integra (1990)

  • Cost reduced version based on new ATi 28800 ASIC
  • Lacks bus mouse connector
  • Uses a much smaller PCB with a surface mount BIOS & RAMDAC
  • Supports SVGA Graphics with 72 Hz refresh rates
  • 512KB DRAM

ATi VGA Basic-16 (1990)

  • PCB layout similar to VGA Integra but using cheaper RAMDAC
  • Only supports the basic 60 Hz VGA modes of the IBM VGA standard from 1987
  • 256KB DRAM (not upgradable)

ATi VGA Charger (1991)

  • Similar to VGA Basic-16, but can be upgraded to 512KB

ATi VGA Wonder XL (May 1991)

  • Sierra RAMDAC adds support for 15-bit colour in 640x480@72 Hz, 800x600@60 Hz
  • Supports a flicker-free vertical refresh rate of 72 Hz
  • 256KB, 512KB or 1MB DRAM
  • Original MSRP: $229, $349, $399 respectively

ATi VGA Stereo·F/X

File:Vgafx.JPG
ATi VGA Stereo·F/X
  • Chipset: ATI 28800
  • Combines a VGA Wonder XL with a Sound Blaster 1.5
  • Features "fake" stereo sound
  • 512KB or 1MB DRAM

ATi VGA Wonder XL24 (1992)

  • Contains a Brooktree Bt481KPJ85 RAMDAC that adds support for hi and true colour graphics modes
  • 512KB or 1MB DRAM

ATi VGA Wonder 1024

  • A series of OEM cost reduced versions of several VGA Wonder models
  • Typically lacks the bus mouse connector and/or the digital TTL output

ATi Mach series

The ATi Mach line was a series of 2D graphics accelerators for personal computers developed by ATI Technologies. It became an extension (and eventual successor) to the ATI Wonder series of cards. The first chip in the series was the ATi Mach8. It was essentially a clone of the IBM 8514/A with a few notable extensions such as Crystal fonts. Being one of the first graphics accelerator chips on the market, the Mach8 did not have an integrated VGA core. In order to use the first Mach8 coprocessor cards, a separate VGA card was required. This made ownership considerably expensive. A temporary solution was presented with the ATi Graphics Ultra/Vantage cards, which combined an ATi 8514 Ultra and VGA Wonder+ into a single card (though using discrete ICs). The Mach32 chip was the follow-up to the Mach8, which finally featured an integrated VGA core, true colour support and a 64-bit datapath to internal memory.

Mach 8

Released: 1990

  • IBM 8514/A clone
  • Support for up to 8-bit color modes
  • Optional VGAWonder 2 (28800) graphics core (with dedicated 256–512 KB DRAM)
  • 512 KB or 1 MB available with either DRAM or VRAM
  • Port: ISA, MCA

The Mach 8 chip was used on the following ATI products:

  • 8514 Ultra (VRAM, coprocessor only)
  • 8514 Vantage (DRAM, coprocessor only)
  • Graphics Vantage (DRAM)
  • Graphics Ultra (VRAM)
  • VGAWonder GT (Repackaged Graphics Ultra, 1 MB RAM standard)

Mach 32

Released: 1992

  • 32-bit GUI accelerator with basic DOS support
  • Limited VESA VBE support
  • Support for 15 bbp, 16 bbp and 24 bbp colour modes added
  • Video memory: 1 or 2 MB DRAM or VRAM
  • Memory interface: 64-bit
  • Port: ISA, EISA, VLB, PCI, MCA
  • Integrated VGA core
  • 100% compatible with IBM 8514/A

The Mach 32 chip was used on the following ATI products:

  • Graphics Wonder (DRAM)
  • Graphics Ultra + (DRAM, fast RAMDAC)
  • Graphics Ultra CLX (DRAM, cost-reduced OEM version)
  • Graphics Ultra Pro (VRAM)
  • Graphics Ultra XLR (VRAM, cost-reduced OEM version)

Mach 64

Released: 1994

  • 64-bit GUI accelerator with basic DOS support
  • Limited VESA VBE support
  • Video memory: 1, 2, 4 or 8 MB DRAM, VRAM, or SGRAM
  • Memory interface: 64-bit
  • Port: ISA, VLB, PCI
  • Variants:
    • "Mach64 CX/210888" - Original chipset, uncommon (up to 2 MB DRAM, or 4 MB VRAM)
    • "Mach64 GX/210888GX" - Enhanced video playback capabilities
    • "Mach64 ET/210888ET" - Embedded???
    • "Mach64 CT/264CT - Cost-reduced Mach64 with integrated RAMDAC and clock chip (up to 2 MB DRAM)
    • "Mach64 VT/264VT - AMC connector (Support for TV-tuner)
    • "Mach64 GT/264GT 3D Rage" - 3D capabilities
    • "Mach64 GT-B/264GT-B 3D Rage II - SDRAM & SGRAM support(up to 8 MB)
    • "Mach64 LT/264LT" - Low-power mobile version of Mach64 GT

The Mach 64 chip was used on the following ATI products:

Several Mach64 PCI graphics cards
Mach64 PCI made by ASUS

Mach64 GX Family:

  • Graphics Xpression (1 or 2 MB DRAM)
  • Graphics Pro Turbo (2 or 4 MB VRAM)
  • WinTurbo (1 or 2 MB VRAM, non-upgradable)
  • Graphics Pro Turbo 1600 (fast RAMDAC,PCI-only)
  • XCLAIM GA (Macintosh)

Mach64 CT Family:

  • WinBoost (1 MB DRAM, upgradable to 2mb)
  • WinCharger (2 MB DRAM)

Mach64 VT Family:

  • Video Charger
  • Video Xpression (Mach64 VT2)
  • Video Xpression+ (Mach64 VT4)

Mach64 GT Family:

  • 3D Xpression (2 MB EDO DRAM))

Mach64 GT-B Family:

  • 3D Charger (2 MB EDO DRAM)
  • 3D XPRESSION+ (2 or 4 MB SDRAM)
  • 3D XPRESSION+ PC2TV (TV-out)
  • 3D Pro Turbo (2, 4, 6 or 8 MB SGRAM)
  • 3D Pro Turbo+ PC2TV (TV-out)
  • Xclaim VR - early versions (Macintosh, 2, 4 or 8 MB SGRAM, Video-In Video-Out)
  • Xclaim 3D - early versions (Macintosh, 4 or 8 MB SGRAM)
  • All-In-Wonder (SDRAM, TV Tuner)

Important Note: The 3D Rage and 3D Rage II chips were also known as Mach64 GT and Mach64 GT-B respectively. The Mach64 moniker was eliminated with introduction of the 3D Rage Pro.

ATi Rage series

Rage 3D II PCI
Rage LT Pro
Rage 128 Pro OEM
Rage 128 16MB
3D Rage
3D Rage II
3D Rage Pro

Released in the latter half of 1997, the Rage Pro was a major improvement on ATI's previous Rage II chip. Improvements include an increased texture cache size (now at 4 KB) allowing for improved texture filtering, as well as an integrated triangle setup engine. It is the first ATI chip (and among the earliest graphics chips) to fully support AGP bus features, including execute mode (AGP texturing). It is also the first ATI chip to support OpenGL in hardware. However, like the previous Rage chips, the Rage Pro cannot bilinear filter alpha textures, resulting in transparent textures still having a rough appearance. Performance-wise, it is very similar to 3Dfx's original Voodoo Graphics chipset. The Rage Pro was very popular with OEMs and up until the late 2000s, it was integrated into many server motherboards.

The Rage Pro is also the last chip to support ATI's CIF application programming interface. It is also ATI's last chip with Windows 3.1x support.

Rage 128





























ATi Radeon series

R100
Radeon 7200
Radeon 7000 32MB DDR PCI
Radeon 7500 64MB

The original Radeon was a Direct3D 7 visual processing unit (VPU), as ATi named it. It is a 2 pixel per clock design with 3 texture units on each of the pixel pipelines. The 166 MHz Radeon DDR (aka 7200) is competitive with GeForce 256 DDR. Clock speeds varied from 143 - 200 MHz, synchronous memory and core.

It supports environmental bump mapping (EMBM), unlike GeForce cards at the time. It has a basic form of anisotropic filtering that is high performance and offers a nice quality improvement but is highly angle-dependent and can not operate at the same time as trilinear filtering. It also offers ordered-grid supersampling anti-aliasing.

Backwards compatibility with old D3D 5 games is limited because of the lack of support for fog table and palettized textures. It is possible to enable fog table via registry tweaks but it was not officially supported.

RV100 (Radeon VE / 7000) is a chip with dual display capabilities but with reduced 3D hardware. It lacks T&L and has a single pixel pipeline. It is somewhat faster than TNT2 Ultra and G400 Max.

RV200 (Radeon 7500) is a die shrink of R100 with some improvements. It has more anisotropic filtering options and is capable of asynchronous clocking of memory and the core. The top of the line model is clocked at 290 MHz core and 230 MHz RAM, and competes with GeForce 2 Ti/Pro. There are many variations of this card.


















R200
Radeon 8500 128MB

This generation is the first with Direct3D 8 compliance, actually Direct3D 8.1. The Radeon 8500 is a 4 pipeline design with 2 texture units per pipeline and operates at up to 275 MHz, typically with synchronous core and RAM. It is competitive with GeForce 3 Ti 500.

A wide variety of supersampling anti-aliasing modes are available (2-6x, quality/performance). ATi calls it "Smoothvision". It uses various techniques, including a jittered-grid pattern for some modes/cases and ordered-grid for others. In Direct3D, fog may force it to use ordered-grid. Drivers vary in their behavior as well.[1]

Anisotropic filtering is somewhat improved, with more levels supported, but is again very angle dependent and can not work with trilinear filtering. GeForce 3+ have higher quality anisotropic filtering but with a much higher performance impact.

ATi introduced a tessellation function called TruForm.

Backwards compatibility with old D3D 5 games is limited because of the lack of support for fog table and palettized textures.

RV250 and RV280, known as Radeon 9000, 9200 and 9250, are slight evolutions of the design. They have somewhat reduced specifications but are more efficient and run cooler. They were popular notebook GPUs. Performance of Radeon 9000 Pro is not far off of Radeon 8500. Radeon 9100 is a rename of Radeon 8500 LE.


R300
Radeon 9500 Pro 128MB
Radeon 9600 256MB
Radeon 9800 XL 128MB
Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB

Introduced in August 2002, the R300 GPUs are Direct3D 9.0-compliant graphics chips. R300 introduced Shader Model 2.0 support and is also OpenGL 2.0-compliant. The R300 was designed by the ArtX engineering team that ATI had acquired in Feburary 2000. The same ArtX engineers (who were also former SGI employees) designed the Nintendo Gamecube GPU (Flipper) as well as the SGI RealityEngine-based graphics processor in the Nintendo 64. The first R300-based cards released were the Radeon 9500 and 9700 line of cards. In 2003, the Radeon 9600 and 9800 series were added to the lineup. R300 has many improvements and noticeably better visual quality than ATI's prior chips. Radeon 9800 Pro is competitive with GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, but with Direct3D 9 games the GeForce FX falls far behind.

Anisotropic filtering quality is vastly improved in the R300, with much lower angle-dependency and the ability to work simultaneously with trilinear filtering. Furthermore, compared to its initial competitor, NVIDIA's GeForce 4 Ti series, R300's anisotropic filtering incurred much less performance decrease. Anti-aliasing is now performed with 2-6x gamma-corrected rotated-grid multi-sampling anti-aliasing. MSAA operates only on polygon edges, which of course means no anti-aliasing within textures or of transparent textures, but expends far less fillrate and is thus useable at higher resolutions. NVIDIA does not match the quality of this MSAA until GeForce 8. However, ATi did not support any form of super-sampling with R300-R700, while NVIDIA did.

The R300 enjoyed visual quality and performance supremacy over its competitors in games and applications that extensively used Shader Model 2.0. NVIDIA would not be able to match or exceed ATI's Direct3D 9.0 performance until the release of the GeForce 6 series in 2004.

Backwards compatibility with old D3D 5 games is limited because of the lack of support for fog table and palettized textures. Also, despite being Direct3D 9.0-compliant, the R300 is not officially supported under Windows 7. However, for full Direct3D and OpenGL support, it is still possible to use the Windows Vista driver instead under Windows 7, although WDDM 1.1 features will not be present.














R400
Radeon X600 Pro 256MB
Radeon X800 XT PE

Introduced in 2004, this is ATi's Direct3D 9.0b generation. It is very similar to R300 in general, but with 16 pipelines in the top chip instead of 8, and higher clock speeds. They are still shader model 2.0 GPUs but have some extensions beyond 2.0, which gives them a 2.0b designation, but are not 3.0 compliant. This was not an issue until about 2 years after launch when games started to outright require shader model 3.0 or run without some visual features. There are some games that utilize 2.0b features - for example Oblivion has more visual effects available on X800 than 9800.

A new anti-aliasing mode was introduced, called temporal AA. This feature shifts the sampling pattern on a per-frame basis, if the card can maintain >= 60 fps. This works well with human vision and gives a tangible improvement to anti-aliasing quality. Also, while not initially available, adaptive anti-aliasing was added to the R400 series after the release of R500 series. Adaptive AA anti-aliases within transparent textures, giving MSAA more SSAA-like capabilities.

The ATI R400 series are ATI's last GPUs with official Windows 98/98 SE/ME support. Likewise with the R300 series, the R400 series is not officially supported under Windows 7. However, for full Direct3D and OpenGL support, it is still possible to use the Windows Vista driver instead under Windows 7, although WDDM 1.1 features will not be present.


R500

Introduced in 2005, the Radeon X1000 / R500 series are ATI's first Direct3D 9.0c-compliant GPUs with full Shader Model 3.0 features. The R500 series is not officially supported under Windows 7. However, for full Direct3D and OpenGL support, it is still possible to use the Windows Vista driver instead under Windows 7, although WDDM 1.1 features will not be present.


R600
HD 2600Pro and HD 2600XT, AGP versions
HD 3850 AGP

Introduced in 2006, these Radeons added the "HD" prefix to their names. R600 includes both the HD 2xxx and HD 3xxx series, with the AGP version of the HD 3850 arguably being the most powerful AGP graphics card to ever have been made (with only the AGP variants of the HD 4650 and the HD 4670 being of a more recent GPU family).


































R700
HD 4670 1GB Club3D AGP

Introduced in 2008, the R700 family included the last graphics cards to be made for AGP slots.










Driver suggestions for games
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2

These OpenGL games are problematic for Radeon cards. DirectX 8 Radeons should use Catalyst 4.2 for KOTOR and Catalyst 5.1 for KOTOR 2. DirectX 9 Radeons in the R300 series can try these as well. With the R4x0 through R6x0 Radeon cards, Catalyst 7.11 may be the best choice.

If the soft shadows option is greyed out and disabled, as it most likely will be, edit swkotor.ini and add "AllowSoftShadows=1" to the [Graphics Options] section.

Video captures

3D Rage II

Note: The Dawning Demo was actually targeted for the ATI Rage128 series that is a considerably newer, thus faster core than the 3D Rage II.


3D Rage Pro

Related links