Asus Diversifies – Enter the Radeon 9800XT/TVD

Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD

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Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD

A few years back, it was common to see a given hardware manufacturer offering different video solutions from different chipset vendors. I remember STB, Diamond, and Creative Labs all selling 3dfx (Voodoo chipsets) and NVIDIA (Riva and TNT) products. For whatever reason, in the past 2 years, this fell out of fashion and we saw more and more companies just sell products from a single chipset vendor. So going to a company like MSI or Asus meant that you were buying an NVIDIA solution, and if you bought video from Sapphire or Gigabyte, you were getting an ATI.

However, all this changed a few months ago when we began hearing rumours of some big name “NVIDIA-only” companies beginning to produce ATI-based cards concurrently. The rumours proved to be true as Asus announced that it was to begin offering both NVIDIA and ATI products.

Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD - Graphics Cards  1

I’m sure some of you have sinister reasons why this happened, but giving this some thought it makes perfect business sense to offer products that are popular and fill a price segment. Even if it means competing against your own products, at least you gain the revenue that may have gone to a competitor. This is done very often by companies like General Motors and Procter & Gamble. There’s a business saying that goes something like this: “cannibalize your own market”. Asus is just one of the latest companies to do just that.

To get their perspective on the turn to ATI, I picked the brain of Rick at Asus USA. According to Rick, Asus has been offering ATI products for quite some time with their IGP solutions. It was only natural that their relationship evolve to include graphics manufactured from ATI. This is a similar story to Asus and NVIDIA with nForce motherboards and FX series cards. I think ultimately by offering solutions from multiple vendors, Asus positions themselves to appeal to a larger market.

Today…

Our focus today will be to examine the features and intangibles of Asus’ latest top-end card, the Radeon 9800XT/TVD. We will scrutinize everything from cooling to warranty and support… and of course game performance. So let’s move onto the review!

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