In October Ati releases their Radeon 9800 XT videocard which in essence is a revamped version of the 9800 Pro. This new videocard is supposed to ship with a copy of Valve’s HalfLife 2, but during the launch event it becomes painfully clear that Ati gambled on the wrong horse as the game if not even close to being completed. To soften the blow a little Ati will be offering coupons with every Radeon 9800 XT sold which can be exchanged for the game once it is released. Only a few days later Valve announces that there has been a code leak and they will postpone the launch to somewhere in 2004. Strange coincidence is that fact that a Microsoft exploit is blamed for the leak whereas Valve’s lead programmer has worked at Microsoft for no less than 13 years.
Fig 13. The ATi Radeon 9600 XT, sporting the trademark red ATi printed circuit board.
As if Ati didn’t get enough press coverage already they also launch their new Radeon 9600XT videocard which is supposed to bring high-end performance at a budget price. Prospective performance claims made by Ati and documented around the web indicate that the 9600 XT should have a performance close to that of the Radeon 9700 Pro. However our, and other people’s, findings show that the Radeon 9600 XT is no match for the 9700 Pro, and is only barely faster than the card it is to replace, the Radeon 9600 Pro. This card also comes bundled with a free coupon for HalfLife 2, although we doubt whether that game will be playable on the 9600 XT at any but the lowest resolution and graphics detail settings.
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