Graphics chipset manufacturer ATI has unveiled the latest additions to its Radeon range of high-end graphics cards, with Valve's Gabe Newell on hand to praise the cards' performance in the now-delayed Half-Life 2.
The Radeon 9800 XT and 9600 XT graphics cards were announced at an event originally designed to coincide with Half-Life 2's September 30 release date, but despite the game now being scheduled tentatively for the "holiday season", the show went ahead regardless at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.
No new footage of Half-Life 2 was shown, but Newell assured the audience that ATI had been chosen as a technology partner by Valve "because of their outstanding DirectX 9 performance," pointing out that "ATI's DirectX 9-class Radeon cards are the best choices for playing Half-Life 2."
Purchasers of the new cards - which will ship at $499 in the USA for the 9800 XT, and around $200 for the 128Mb 9600 XT - will receive a free copy of Half-Life 2 when the game is ready, in an OEM deal for which ATI is rumoured to have paid up to $8 million to Valve.
In terms of performance, it would seem that these cards aren't massive leaps over ATI's existing high end products, but they will give the manufacturer a further edge over larger rival NVIDIA - at least until it announces the next additions to the GeForce range, with an announcement of two new products expected in the coming weeks.