“ ATI PLANS to introduce its brand new R520 technology exactly a year after it announced its R420. Despite the news that ATI might even be ready with R520 for CeBIT, it seems that the company wants to hold its breath and try to release the silicon in May.
We already said that the R520 taped out and our sources confirm that the chip is in good shape, but then again it’s still the first working silicon that it got out of the fab. It takes at least six weeks to get the next revision of silicon. This means that ATI is still on track and will possibly make one more revision before it goes to final production.
Our biggest concern about R520 is its manufacturing process. ATI will build it using a 90 nanometre process and this might be tricky. Shifting to a smaller process is always problematical, not automatical. Remember Nvidia’s adventure with the NV30 where it ended up with ill starred consequences and subsequent unavailability? ATI is very optimistic over its decision, however. ATI likes to be more conservative and doesn’t like to risk it for a frisket. Just look at its X800 110 nanometre chips, for example.”