Despite all that has been glittering like gold or pyrites before, it transpires that ATI flagship R520 cunningly nicknamed "Fudo" will feature only 16 pipelines. The sources close to the company earlier indicated that the R520 might have even more pipes but this won't be the case. The R580 will end up with more pipes but R520 has its higher clock to fight Nvidia's counterpart.
Some of the chips will work at 700MHz or even 800MHz but yields at those speeds won't be satisfactory. Nevertheless, there is a good indication that overclockers will like this tech as will get them to run at sky high speeds.
The cards are floating around and ATI could paper launch them now but would not be able to ship it until the first days in October. That is the estimated product launch and availability date. I don't think that you will be able to buy R520 master cards at this time, but those will follow in a few weeks time after the normal ones.
The performance will be very close to existing 7800 GTX, but we dont know whether R520 will end up faster or slower than this Nvidia flagship card. However, it turns out it will be close, very close.
Funny thing is that a few quarters back Nvidia was so scared of the R520 that it postponed its NV50 project and brought G70, more pipelines version of tweaked NV40 marchitecture and harvested the market with it.
Nvidia is still the only company shipping its current generation high end part while ATI will launch its answer one quarter later. ATI missed the back to school period and it might be tight to get into the Thanksgiving Day shopping hype but will sure be on this for the Yule. Q4 is always the most profitable quarter for the industry as there is something with colder weather and computer shopping.
Source: The Inquirer