ATi Technologies

Advanced Technology Information Systems (ATI) was one of the first manufacturers of graphics expansion cards for the IBM PC and its compatibles. The 'Wonder' series of cards was introduced in 1987, and was superceded by the Mach range with the introduction of the Mach8 in 1990.

Product Lines:

  • The "Wonder" series (EGA Wonder, VGA Wonder, Small Wonder) - 1987-1991
  • The "Mach" series (Mach8, Mach32, Mach64) - 1990 - 1996
  • The "Rage" series (Rage, Rage II, Rage III) 1996 - 2000
  • The "Radeon" series - 2000 - Present

ATI Technologies was acquired by AMD in 2006, who continued with the Radeon line.

Mach 32 Series

The mach32 chip (ATI68800) is the immediate predecessor to the mach64 family. The mach32 was register compatible with both the IBM 8514/A and the mach8. The mach32 also contained a VGA controller on the chip that was compatible with the VGAWONDER so a separate VGA controller was not needed. The memory on the mach32 board was shared between the VGA controller and the mach32 accelerator. The mach32 improved upon the mach8 by providing a linear aperture to allow fast image data transfer by mapping the video memory to the system memory address space. Later revisions of the mach32 also were able to memory map the mach32 registers to overcome the performance penalty incurred in going through I/O port-mapped registers. Finally, the mach32 contained a hardware cursor. mach32-based boards were produced in five bus types: ISA, EISA, VESA Local Bus, Microchannel, and PCI.

Mach 64 Series

The mach64 represented a departure from the mach32 in that it was no longer register compatible with previous ATI graphics accelerators or the 8514/A. (VGA register compatibility was retained, however.) This departure was necessary to resolve some design limitations that were a legacy of the older generation chips. Fortunately, almost all the functionality that was in the mach32 was preserved in the mach64 design, and some
useful additions and enhancements were incorporated. As indicated on the table below, the mach64 can be divided into two major types, the GX family and the CT family. While applications that use the mach64 should run on both types with little or no modification, there are some important differences between the two families that are highlighted in the following sections. Boards based on mach64 are produced in ISA, VESA Local Bus and PCI bus versions.

The mach64 family was further split into mach64GX, mach64CT, and mach64VT:

Mach 64GX

The mach64GX family encompasses the mach64GX (ATI888GX00) and mach64CX (ATI888CX00) variants. The major distinguishing characteristics of this family are the use of an external DAC and external clock synthesizer, support for VRAM, VGA controller is ATI VGAWONDER-compatible and is independently programmable from the accelerator controller. From a very rough architectural perspective, the mach64GX family more resembles the
mach32 than it does the mach64CT family. However, from a functionality and register level perspective, the mach64GX is almost identical to the mach64CT.

Mach 64CT

The mach64CT family encompasses the mach64CT (ATI264CT), mach64VT (ATI264VT) and mach64GT (3D RAGE) variants. The major distinguishing characteristics of this family are integrated DAC and clock synthesizer, no VRAM support, the VGA controller is "pure" VGA (not VGAWONDER-compatible) and the VGA controller is not independently programmable from the accelerator controller.

Mach 64VT

The mach64VT family of chips is built upon the previously mentioned CT. They have the
same feature set as the CT, plus some additional video features such as back end hardware overlay and back end hardware scaler.

RAGE Series

Mach 64GT (3D RAGE, RAGE ii, ii+, IIc, RAGE PRO)

The mach64GT (commonly known as the 3D RAGE) introduced hardware support for 3D operations. The 3D RAGE included all mach64VT features with the addition of hardware 3D acceleration, improved video filtering, and integrated motion compensation (RAGE PRO only).

In order of performance for gaming desktops, the Rage series looks like this (from slowest to fastest):

3D Rage (slowest)
Rage II+ DVD
Rage Pro
Rage IIc
Rage Pro Turbo
Rage 128 Ultra
Rage 128 Pro
Rage Fury
Rage Fury MAXX (fastest)

Mach 64LB (RAGE LT-PRO)

The mach64LB (commonly known as the RAGE LT-PRO) provides the mach64GT core hardware support for 3D operations. The RAGE LT-PRO includes all mach64GT features with the addition of an integrated TV-Encoder, LVDS, and Dual CRT Controllers, plus the graphics subsystem power.

Mach 64GM (RAGE XL)

The mach64GM (commonly known as the RAGE XL) provides the mach64GT core hardware support for 3D operations. The RAGE XL includes all mach64GT features with the addition of an integrated TMDS for flat panels and integrated motion compensation.

Mach 64LM (RAGE MOBILITY M/P/M1)

The mach64LM (commonly known as the RAGE MOBILITY) provides the mach64GT core hardware support for 3D operations. The RAGE MOBILITY includes all mach64GT features with the addition of very low graphics subsystem power, integrated TMDS for flat panels and hardware DVD decode via integrated iDCT.

 

Products are listed in chronological order based on their release date.

EGA Wonder

Released: 1987
Chipset: ATi16899-0 and CHIPS P86C435
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA
Memory: 256 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (Mono and RGB TTL), RCA Composite out
Part #: 16890 (v1), 16892 (v2, v3, v4)
Price: $399

The EGA Wonder series was started in March 1987. This card removed support for the Plantronics mode/single-page Hercules mode/composite output. It came with an internal composite port for use with the IBM 5155 Portable computer.

Its adverts touted its ability to run on a wide variety of monitor types, including EGA, NEC Multisync, standard RGB, those that supported 25-Khz colour, TTL monochrome and composite.

In text modes, it could also display up to 132 columns, making Lotus 1-2-3 and Symphony users able to view a year of data on a single screen. WordStar and WordPerfect also had built-in support for 132-column mode.

ATI even offered a $99 interface to allow the EGA Wonder to fit inside the Compaq Portable, replacing its own internal display controller. This interface connected to EGA Wonder's 'feature connector' along the top.

 

EGA Wonder 800

Released: 1987
Chipset: ATi16899-0 and CHIPS P86C435
Support: CGA, Hercules monochrome, EGA
Memory: 256 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (Mono and RGB TTL), RCA Composite out
Part #: 16890, 16900, 104001500-0
Price: $399

Added support for extended EGA text and graphics modes - these require a multisync monitor. Also added support for 16-colour VGA modes. Another pic. Another pic.

 

EGA Wonder VIP

Released: 1987
Chipset: ATi16899-0 and CHIPS P82C441
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, limited VGA
Memory: 256 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (mono TTL), 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue)
Part #: 18008
Price: $449

Released in 1987, this was ATi's first VGA card. VIP stood for VGA Improved Performance. This card has "Softsense" automatic mode switching, which changes graphics mode based on what the running application requests. This card has DIP switches to select the default startup graphics mode, and has both 9-pin TTL and 15-pin analogue connectors.

It could run in 800 x 560 resolutions as well as VGA 640 x 480 and 732 x 410 on a Multisync monitor.

EGA Wonder 800+

Released: 1988
Chipset: ATi18800-1
Support: EGA, VGA
Memory: 256 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (Mono and RGB TTL)
Part #: 16890, 109006000
Price: Unknown

Added support for 16-colour VGA. A rebadged VGA Edge, but lacking the analogue VGA port and RAMDAC.
DIP switches removed as this card auto-detects the monitor type connected.

 

Small Wonder v1

Released: 1988
Chipset: ATi18700-04
Support: Hercules, CGA, Extended CGA, Plantronics ColorPlus.
Memory: 64 KB
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (TTL), RCA composite out (CGA only)
Part #: 18701
FCC ID: EXM5RSGSSC
Price: Unknown

The Small Wonder (full name "Small Wonder Graphics Solution") was a Hercules clone also able to support extended CGA modes like 640 x 200 in 16 colours as well as 132-column text.

DIP switches are used to set the graphics mode and connected monitor type:
Sw 1 ON = MDA/Hercules graphics mode
Sw 1 OFF = CGA/Plantonics Color+ graphics mode
Sw 2 ON = RGBI or Composite monitor
Sw 2 OFF = Monochrome monitor
Sw 3 ON = Composite in Color
Sw 3 OFF = Composite in Monochrome (IBM PC portable)
Sw 4 = Nothing (used on the very few 'g' versions of the card with a joystic port instead of the composite out)

The Small Wonder has three fonts, but its third font isn't the same as the IBM 'thin' font. It has narrower characters (5 pixels wide rather than 7) and I think it gets used in some of the extended modes.

 

Small Wonder v2

Released: 1988
Chipset: ATi18700
Support: Hercules, CGA, Extended CGA, Plantronics ColorPlus..
Memory: 64 KB
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (TTL), RCA composite out (CGA only)
Part #: 18703
FCC ID: EXM5RSGSSC1
Price: Unknown

A minor update on Small Wonder version 1. In "Mono monitor" mode, it uses the 720x350 mode (even for CGA simulation), but it may use 8x8 font mode in CGA monitor/composite mode.

DIP switch settings are the same as for the Small Wonder v1.

 

VGA Wonder

Released: 1988
Chipset: ATi18800, ATi18830
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 256 KB or 512 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (mono TTL), 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue)
Price: $449

The VGA Wonder series was released in 1988. This card was ATi's first Super VGA-compatible card, making use of their brand new 18800 chipset.

It uses an onboard EEPROM chip to store its configuration settings, and has monitor auto-sensing (so no DIP switches).

A cost-reduced version of the VGA Wonder was released called the VGA Edge 8 (aka VGA Wonder 256), which came with 256 KB RAM.

Advertisement, Operations Manual

 

VGA Wonder 16

Released: 1988
Chipset: ATi18800, ATi18820, ATi18830
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 256 KB or 512 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 16-bit (also compatible with 8-bit slots)
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (mono TTL), 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue)
Part #: 109004800
Price: $499 (256 KB variant), $699 (512 KB variant)

Also released in 1988, the VGA Wonder 16 was ATi's first 16-bit card, and better-performing due to the wider bus. Another picture is here.

It came with a Bus mouse connector and a VGA pass-through connector.

A cost-reduced version of the VGA Wonder 16 (256 KB variant) was released called the VGA Edge 16. This lacked the bus mouse connector and the digital TTL output.

Prism VGA / Prism Elite

Released: 1989
Chipset: Trident 8800CS
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 256 KB (upgradable to 512 KB), 512 KB
Bus: ISA 8-bit or ISA 16-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (mono TTL), 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue)
Price: Unknown

In 1989, ATI launched their Prism series of VGA cards. With 256 KB and 512 KB versions available, as well as 8-bit and 16-bit variants, owners could get up to 1024 x 768 resolution in 16 colours, 800 x 600 in the same, or 640 x 480 in 256 colours. It also supported up to 132 columns in text mode by 60, 44, 30 or 25 rows.

VGA Wonder +

Released: 1990
Chipset: ATi 28800-2, 28800-4 or 28800-5
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 256 KB, 512 KB or 1 MB DRAM
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Ports: 9-pin DSUB (mono TTL), 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue), Bus mouse, VESA feature connector
Part #: 109009500, 1090010910, 1090012220
Price: Unknown

In 1990, the VGA Wonder + was launched, based on their new 28800 chipset which claimed to offer speeds rivalling VRAM-based cards. Dual page mode memory access, and dynamic CPU/CRT interleaving.

 

VGA Integra

Released: 1990
Chipset: ATi 28800-2
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 512 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Ports: 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue), VESA feature connector
Part #: 109P014210
FCC ID: EXMBVGA
Price: Unknown

Also launched in 1990, the Integra was a cost-reduced version of the VGA Wonder+ and shared the same new 28800 chipset. It has a much smaller PCB with surface-mounted BIOS and RAMDAC chips. It lacks the bus mouse connector. This card supports SVGA 72 Hz refresh rates, and comes with 512 KB DRAM as standard.

 

VGA Basic 16

Released: 1990
Chipset: ATi 28800-2
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 256 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Ports: 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue), VESA feature connector
Part #: 1090010400
Price: Unknown

The VGA Basic 16 was designed to be the budget offering while still suing the latest 28800 chipset. Its PCB layout is similar to the VGA Integra but it uses a cheaper RAMDAC.

It only supports the basic 60 Hz refresh rate VGA modes (same as IBM VGA standard from 1987), and came with only 256 KB DRAM which was not upgradable.

 

VGA Charger

Released: 1991
Chipset: ATi 28800-2
Support: CGA, Hercules, EGA, VGA, and SVGA
Memory: 512 KB DRAM
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Ports: 15-pin DSUB (RGB analogue), VESA feature connector
Part #:109P014210
FCC ID: EXMBVGA
Price: Unknown

Similar to VGA Basic 16, but memory was doubled to 512 KB.

 

VGA Wonder XL

Released: May 1991.
Chipset: ATi28800-6
Support: CGA, Hercules monochrome, EGA, VGA, and SVGA.
Memory: 256 KB, 512 KB or 1 MB DRAM.
Bus: ISA 16-bit?
Part #: 109P014310
FCC ID: EXMVGAXLV1
Price: $229 (256 KB), $349 (512 KB), or $399 (1 MB).

The VGA Wonder XL got the Sierra RAMDAC which adds support for 15-bit colour in 640x480 @ 72 Hz and 800x600 @ 60 Hz.

Technical Reference Manual

 

VGA Wonder XL24

Released: 1992
Chipset: Brooktree Bt481KPJ85 RAMDAC.
Memory: 512 KB or 1 MB DRAM.
Bus: ISA 16-bit

The RAMDAC adds support for hi and true colour graphics modes.

 

VGA Wonder 1024D

Released: 1992
Chipset: 28800-6
Memory: 1 MB DRAM
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Part #: 109P014400
FCC ID: EXMBVGA1M

The XL24 and 1024 were a series of cost-reduced versions of several VGA Wonder models. They typically lack the bus mouse connector and/or the digital TTL output.

 

VGA Stereo F/X

Released: 1992
Chipset: ATi 28800
Support: CGA, Hercules monochrome, EGA, VGA, and SVGA.
Memory: 512 KB or 1 MB DRAM.
Bus: ISA 16-bit
FCC ID: EXMVGAFX
Price: $449 (512 KB), $499 (1 MB)

The Stereo F/X basically combined a VGA Wonder XL with a Sound Blaster 1.5 onto a single 16-bit ISA card. It features "fake" stereo sound when playing back mono sound files, believed to be by separating frequencies and playing different ones back on left and right channels.

The 512 KB version gives you 640 x 480 and 800 x 600 resolutions in 256 colours and 1024 x 768 in 16 colours. The 1 MB version gives you 1024 x 768 in 256 colours. At the lower resolutions of 640 x 480 and 800 x 600 this card supports 32,768 simutaneous colours with its use of the Sierra Hi-Color RAMDAC chip. The Stereo F/X supports up to 72 Hz refresh rates but you needed the full 1MB DRAM version for this to work in SVGA modes.

It has a real OPL2 chip but can also use Creative's CMS chips, making it CMS-/Game Blaster-compatible if you install these. All settings such as Base address, IRQ and DMA channel are stored in an EPROM chip, so there are no jumpers to configure on this board. The utility disk contains a config program. It's a very loud sound card (audibly), as all sound is output through an onboard amplifier.

Summing Up: A decent SVGA graphics card with very good FM audio output, but suffers from less-than 100% compatibility.

More Images:

Graphics Ultra

Released: 1991
Chipset: Mach8
Bus: 16-bit ISA
Memory: 1 MB VRAM (32-bit)
Part #: 109011541
FCC ID: EXMCOMBOVM1

The first card from ATi to host their first 2D hardware accelerator chip - the Mach8. This was essentially a clone of the IBM 8514/A with a few notable extensions such as Crystal fonts. Being one of the first graphics accelerator chips on the market, the Mach8 did not have an integrated VGA core, i.e. it was just an accelerator card. In order to use the first Mach8 coprocessor cards, a separate VGA card was required. A temporary solution was presented with the ATi Graphics Ultra/Vantage cards, which combined an ATi 8514 Ultra and VGA Wonder+ into a single card (though using discrete ICs).

The mach8 (ATI38800) was ATI's first true Graphics Accelerator, providing hardware assisted drawing capabilities for 2D primitives like lines, rectangles and polygons. It was register compatible with the IBM 8514/A Display Adapter. Thus any applications or drivers that supported the 8514/A would run on a mach8 without any modification. The mach8 also extended on the 8514/A specification. The mach8 did not have any VGA compatibility so a separate VGA controller was required for standard text and VGA modes. Some mach8 boards, like the GRAPHICS VANTAGE and GRAPHICS ULTRA included a VGAWONDER controller on the same board as the mach8 to provide this VGA support. The VGA controller had its own memory, completely separate from the mach8 accelerator's memory. mach8-based boards were produced in both ISA and Microchannel versions.

Rough theoretical performance of this card is 10 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 0 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory performance is 40 MB/s.

 

Graphics Vantage

Released: 1992
Chipset: Mach8 (ATi 38800-1)
Bus: 16-bit ISA (32-bit)
Memory: 1 MB DRAM
FCC ID: EXWC0MBOOM

Almost identical to the Graphics Ultra, but used DRAM instead of VRAM.

The Graphics Vantage was a high-end graphics card by ATI, launched in January 1992. Built on the 800nm process, and based on the Mach8 graphics processor, in its 38800-1 variant, the card does not support DirectX. The Mach8 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm². It features 1 pixel shader and 0 vertex shaders, 0 texture mapping units and 1 ROP. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATi has placed 1 MB DRAM memory on the card, which are connected using a 32-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 10 MHz, memory is running at 10 MHz.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. Display outputs include: 1x VGA.
Its price at launch was $599 USD. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 10 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 0 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory performance is 40 MB/s.

 

Graphics Ultra Pro (ISA)

Launched: 1992
Chipset: Mach32
Memory: 2 MB DRAM (64-bit)
Bus: ISA 16-bit, EISA, VLB
Part #: 1090018940
FCC ID: EXM688VM

The Graphics Ultra Pro ISA was a enthusiast-class graphics card by ATI, launched in January 1992. Built on the 700nm process, and based on the Mach32 graphics processor, in its Mach32-03 variant, the card does not support DirectX. The Mach32 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm². It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 0 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 2 MB DRAM memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 10 MHz, memory is running at 10 MHz.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. Its price at launch was 799 US Dollars. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 10 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 0 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory performance is 80 MB/s.

Graphics Ultra Pro (PCI)

Launched: 1993
Chipset: Mach32
Memory: 1 MB DRAM (64-bit)
Bus: PCI
Part #:
FCC ID:

The Graphics Ultra Pro PCI was a graphics card by ATI, launched in January 1993. Built on the 700 nm process, and based on the Mach32 graphics processor, in its Mach32 AX variant, the card does not support DirectX. The Mach32 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm². It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 0 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 1 MB DRAM memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 66 MHz, memory is running at 83 MHz.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. This device has no display connectivity, as it is not designed to have monitors connected to it. Graphics Ultra Pro PCI is connected to the rest of the system using a PCI interface. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 66 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 0 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 664 MB/s.

Mach64

Launched: 1995
Chipset: mach64 (264VT4)
Bus: PCI
Memory: 2 MB
Part #: 109-34000-00
FCC ID: EXM340
Price: ?

Mach64 Software Development Kit
Programmer's Reference Guide

 

WinCharger

Launched: 1994
Chipset: mach64 (264VT2)
Bus: ISA 16-bit, PCI, VLB
Memory: 1 MB or 2 MB FPM or EDO RAM (64-bit bus).
DirectX Support: None.
Part #: 109-34000-00
FCC ID: EXM340
Price: $229

The WinCharger was a cost-reduced version of the mach64 with an integrated RAMDAC.

The WinCharger was a performance graphics card by ATI, launched in November 1995. Built on the 600 nm process, and based on the Mach64 graphics processor, in its Mach64 CT variant, the card does not support DirectX. The Mach64 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm² and 1 million transistors. It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 0 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 2 MB EDO memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 40 MHz, memory is running at 40 MHz. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 40 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 0 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 320 MB/s.

 

 

Mach64 VT2

Launched: 1996
Chipset: mach64 (264VT2)
Bus: PCI
Memory: 1 MB or 2 MB EDO RAM.
Part #:

This was ATi's last 2D card.

 

3D Rage

Launched: 1996
Chipset: mach64GT
Bus: PCI
Memory: 2 MB EDO RAM (64-bit bus).
DirectX Support: 5.0
Part #:

The 3D Rage was the first "3D accelerator" graphics card by ATi, launched in April 1996. Built on the 500 nm process, and based on the Mach64 GT graphics processor, in its 215GT1NA21 variant, the card supports DirectX 5.0.

The Mach64 GT graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm² and 5 million transistors. It features 1 pixel shader and 0 vertex shaders, 1 texture mapping unit and 1 ROP. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 2 MB EDO memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 44 MHz, memory is running at 57 MHz.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. 3D Rage is connected to the rest of the system using a PCI interface. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 44 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 44 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 456 MB/s.

This card suffered from slow EDO RAM compared to its competitor, the S3 ViRGE, which was first to the 3D market - the Rage only had a 32-bit memory path compared to the ViRGE's 64-bit wide path.

 

3D Xpression

Launched: 1996
Chipset: 3D Rage
Bus: PCI
Memory: 2 MB EDO (40ns)
Part #: 102-38502-02

The 3D Xpression card was the first to sport ATi's new 3D chip, 3D Rage. It retained the Mach64 architecture with integrated DAC and clock synthesizer, and added a 3D engine into the same chip.

Key features:

  • 57 MHz core
  • 2 MB EDO RAM

As a first-generATion 3D chip it proved about as useless as offerings from Matrox and nVidia. Very low feature set and not fully DirectX- and Direct3D-compatible.

 

 

 

3D Rage II

Launched: 1996
Chipset: Mach64 GT-B (Rage II)
Bus: PCI
Core Clock Speed: 54 MHz
Memory: 2 MB or 4 MB SDR (with memory expansion module)
Memory Speed: 68 MHz
DirectX Support: 5.0
Part #: 109-38200-00

ATi launched their second generation 3D chip, the Rage II, with the Mach64 GT. This corrected all the mistakes made with the 3D Rage chip - with all critical 3D features now present and working. It redesigned its Mach64 core and added MPEG2 playback (DVD). Z-buffering was now implemented in hardware, as this was now a requirement of many Direct3D games. Cards with the original Rage II chip were usually named 3D Xpression+. The GPU operated at a frequency of 60 MHz, memory was running at 83 MHz. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 60 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 60 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 664 MB/s.

Key features:

  • 54 MHz core
  • 68 MHz memory
  • 2 MB or 4 MB RAM
  • DirectX 5.0

3D gaming with a 2 MB card is very limiting. For it's time Rage II was feature-rich, but all members of the Rage II family suffer from perspective problems - some surfaces appear wavy instead of straight. Similar performance to S3 ViRGE/GX (released around same time) in average framerates on the 2 MB card - 4 MB should be better. AST shipped the 3D Rage II in their MS 51xx, 52xx, 62xx and 63xx desktop computers in 1997, as did IBM for their Aptiva range and Toshiba in their shortlived desktop ranges: Infinia and Equium.

 

All-In-Wonder

Price: $250 (mid-1997)

Introduced in November 1996 and designed for Windows 95, the All-In-Wonder series combined a graphics card with a TV tuner card in one. They started with the use of the Rage chipset, but later used the Radeon chipset. The All-In-Wonder name was used on such cards from 1996 up to 2008.

"ATI All-IN-WONDER is the 7-in-1 graphics, TV and multimedia solution for PC, delivering 3D, 2D and video acceleration with an intelligent TV tuner, video capture and TV display. It is designed exclusively for Microsoft Windows95(tm)**. You'll enjoy outstanding 3D performance while playing games or adding 3D elements to design or multimedia projects. Plus get awesome 2D performance, ultra-high resolution, full-motion video and the ability to play games or do presentations on a big screen TV. The TV tuner lets you zoom in on the action, capture video from your TV or camcorder, watch PC video clips while still offering fast graphics. ALL-IN-WONDER will even watch TV for you, unattended."

 

 

3D Rage II+ DVD

Launched: 1997
Chipset: Mach64 GT-B (Rage II)
Bus: PCI
Core Clock Speed: 60 MHz
Memory: 4 MB SGRAM (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 83 MHz (480 MB/s bandwidth)
DirectX Support: 5.0

A minor refresh over the 3D Rage II, the Rage II+ featured MPEG2 support as well as better 3D (30% better triangle performance over Rage II was claimed by ATI). All cards from this point on carried the "A3D" logo.

The 3D Rage II+ DVD was a graphics card by ATI, launched in September 1996. Built on the 500 nm process, and based on the Mach64 GT-B graphics processor, in its 215GT2UB24 variant, the card supports DirectX 5.0. The Mach64 GT-B graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm² and 5 million transistors. It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 1 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 4 MB SDR memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 60 MHz, memory is running at 83 MHz.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. Display outputs include: 1x S-Video. 3D Rage II+ DVD is connected to the rest of the system using a PCI interface. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 60 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 60 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 664 MB/s.

In reality, the claimed improvements in the 3D architecture are not evident when playing games, so the only benefit you're likely to see from the Rage II+ DVD over the Rage II is more video RAM.

 

3D Rage IIC (AGP)

Launched: 1996
Chipset: Rage II
Bus: AGP, PCI
Core Clock Speed: 60 MHz
Memory: 4 MB SDR (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 83 MHz (664 MB/s bandwidth)
DirectX Support: 5.0

Cards sporting the original Rage II chip were usually named 3D Xpression+ and came with 2 to 4 MB SGRAM.

The 3D Rage IIC AGP was a graphics card by ATI, launched in September 1996. Built on the 500 nm process, and based on the Rage 2 graphics processor, in its 215R2QZUA21 variant, the card supports DirectX 5.0. The Rage 2 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 90 mm² and 5 million transistors. It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 1 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 4 MB SDR memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 60 MHz, memory is running at 83 MHz. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 60 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 60 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 664 MB/s.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. Display outputs include: 1x VGA. 3D Rage IIC AGP is connected to the rest of the system using an AGP 2x interface.

Similar performance to S3 ViRGE/GX2, i.e. pretty poor! The core technology on this ATI card is better, but is let down by the slow core clock of 60 MHz and memory running at just 83 MHz. The Rage IIc's drivers eventually got nice and stable (not always the case with ATI's drivers - the earlier Rage II ones were poor). Rage II chipset can be considered a decent low-end architecture - insufficient fillrates for 640 x 480. Don't be fooled by how much ATI had of the 3D market in 1996-1997 - the Rage II chipset went out in droves, but was never considered a top performer.

 

3D Charger

Launched: 1997
Chipset: Rage II+
Bus: PCI
Core Clock Speed: 75 MHz
Memory: 4 MB SGRAM
Memory Speed: 83 MHz (664 MB/s bandwidth)
DirectX Support: 5.0
Part #: 109-38800-00

ATi launched the new Rage II+DVD chip on their new card, the 3D Charger which featured not only the new chipset but also MPEG-2 playback. The "+" part of the 3D chip was tweaked with ATi claiming 30% performance increase in small triangle rendering (over the Rage II chip). From this point on, all Rage chips carried the new "A3D" logo emblazened on the chip. Unfortunately, improvements in real gaming cannot be noticed over the Rage II chip.

Key features:

  • New Rage II+ chip
  • 83 MHz memory speed and support for SGRAM
  • 4 MB now the standard minimum for ATI cards

 

Video Xpression+ / Mach64 VT4

Launched: 1998
Chipset: mach64 (264VT4)
Bus: PCI
Memory: 2 MB or 4 MB (with memory expansion module) EDO or SGRAM
Memory Speed: 62 MHz
Part #: 109-40600-10

This was ATi's last 2D card.

Key features:

  • Sharp, flicker-free refresh rates up to 120 Hz
  • Screaming 64-bit acceleration
  • Optional "Intelligent TV" TV tuner add-on
  • 16.7 million colours
  • 1280 x 1024 maximum resolution

 

3D Rage Pro (AGP)

Launched: 1997
Chipset: Rage 3
Bus: AGP 1x
Core Clock Speed: 75 MHz
Memory: 2 MB SDR (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 75 MHz (600 MB/s bandwidth) or 100 MHz (800 MB/s)
Direct X Support: 5.0
OpenGL Support: 1.1

The third generation in the Rage architecture, Rage 3 improved upon the Rage II with addition of motion compensation, and new 3D pipeline. Unlike Rage II that used the AGP bus but never really pushed its benefits, Rage 3 now fully supports the AGP 1.0 standard with 133 MHz speed pipelining when executing from system memory. The chipset features new triangle creation which takes the strain of doing this task off the CPU, perspective errors of the Rage II are gone, the texturing engine now has 4 KB of cache.

The 3D Rage PRO AGP was a graphics card by ATI, launched in March 1997. Built on the 350 nm process, and based on the Rage 3 graphics processor, in its 215R3DUA22 variant, the card supports DirectX 6.0. The Rage 3 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 80 mm² and 8 million transistors. It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 1 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 2 MB SDR memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 75 MHz, memory is running at 75 MHz. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 75 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 75 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 600 MB/s.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. Display outputs include: 1x VGA. 3D Rage PRO AGP is connected to the rest of the system using an AGP 2x interface.

Works in Windows 3.1.
In Win3.11 these cards suffer from major font problems with the ATi card driver.

3D Rage Pro Register Reference Guide

 

3D Rage Pro Turbo (AGP)

Launched: 1998
Chipset: Rage 3
Bus: AGP 2x
Core Clock Speed: 75 MHz
Memory: 4 MB SDR (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 75 MHz (600 MB/s bandwidth)
Direct X Support: 6.0
OpenGL Support: 1.1

Don't be fooled by the addition of the word "Turbo" here - this was a marketing ploy which backfired badly on ATI in early 1998. ATI fooled the most popular synthetic benchmarks of the time using some dodgy driver code and stamped "Turbo" on the chip to make it appear as though they'd invented a much better product.

The 3D Rage PRO Turbo was a graphics card by ATI, launched in March 1997. Built on the 350 nm process, and based on the Rage 3 graphics processor, in its 215R3BJA33 variant, the card supports DirectX 6.0. The Rage 3 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 80 mm² and 8 million transistors. It features 1 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 1 texture mapping units and 1 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 4 MB SDR memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 75 MHz, memory is running at 75 MHz. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 75 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 75 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 600 MB/s.
Being a single-slot card, its power draw is not exactly known. Display outputs include: 1x VGA. 3D Rage PRO Turbo is connected to the rest of the system using an AGP 2x interface.

 

3D Rage XL / XC

Launched: 1999
Chipset: mach64 GM (Rage 3)
Bus: AGP 2x
Core Clock Speed: 83 MHz
Memory: 4 MB or 8 MB SDRAM (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 125 MHz
Direct X Support: 5.0
OpenGL Support: 1.1

In 1999, ATI moved to a 0.25 micron manufacturing process, which reduced the die size of the Rage 3 chipset. The Rage XL and Rage XC cards which used this were basically Rage Pro Turbos with integrated TMDS for flat panels and added motion compensation.

 

Rage 128 Pro

Launched: 1999
Chipset: Rage 128
Bus: AGP 4x
Core Clock Speed: 125 MHz
Memory: 32 MB SDR (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 143 MHz
Direct X Support: 6.0
OpenGL Support: 1.2

The Rage 128 Pro was the successor to the Rage 128. It runs a core clock at 125 MHz and memory at 143 MHz. Comparable performance to nVidia Riva TNT2, Matrox G400 and Voodoo3 2000, it still falls short of the nVidia Riva TNT2 Ultra VG400 Max and Voodoo3 3500.

The Rage 128 PRO was a graphics card by ATI, launched in August 1999. Built on the 250 nm process, and based on the Rage 4 graphics processor, in its 215R4GAUC21 variant, the card supports DirectX 6.0. The Rage 4 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 70 mm² and 8 million transistors. It features 2 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 2 texture mapping units and 2 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 32 MB SDR memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 118 MHz, memory is running at 143 MHz. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 236 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 236 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 1.14 GB/s.
Being a single-slot card, the ATI Rage 128 PRO does not require any additional power connector, its power draw is not exactly known. Display outputs include: 1x VGA, 1x S-Video. Rage 128 PRO is connected to the rest of the system using an AGP 4x interface.

Does not work in Windows 3.1.

 

Rage 128 Pro Ultra

Launched: 1999
Chipset: Rage 128
Bus: AGP 4x
Core Clock Speed: 133 MHz or 118 MHz
Memory: 32 MB SDR (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 133 MHz or 140 MHz
Direct X Support: 6.0
OpenGL Support: 1.2

Rage 128 Pro Ultra cards were simply OEM versions of the Rage 128 Pro. These don't work on the standard ATI drivers without a change in the .INF file and deleting the line with the subsys code of "generic rage128pro".

The Rage 128 Ultra was a graphics card by ATI, launched in August 1999. Built on the 250 nm process, and based on the Rage 4 graphics processor, in its 215R4GAUC21 variant, the card supports DirectX 6.0. The Rage 4 graphics processor is a relatively small chip with a die area of only 89 mm² and 8 million transistors. It features 2 pixel shaders and 0 vertex shaders, 2 texture mapping units and 2 ROPs. Due to the lack of unified shaders you will not be able to run recent games at all (which require unified shader/DX10+ support). ATI has placed 32 MB SDR memory on the card, which are connected using a 64-bit memory interface. The GPU is operating at a frequency of 119 MHz, memory is running at 119 MHz. Being a single-slot card, the ATI Rage 128 Ultra does not require any additional power connector. Rough theoretical performance of this card is 238 MPixel/s pixel rate, and 238 MTexel/s texture rate. Memory bandwidth is approximately 952 MB/s.
Display outputs include: 1x VGA. Rage 128 Ultra is connected to the rest of the system using an AGP 4x interface.

 

Rage 128GL / Fury

Launched: 1998
Chipset: Rage 128
Bus: AGP 2x
Core Clock Speed: 103 MHz
Memory: 32 MB SDR (128-bit bus) or 16 MB DDR (64-bit bus)
Memory Speed: 103 MHz
Direct X Support: 6.0
OpenGL Support: 1.2

Also referred to as Rage 128 GL, or Rage 128 Pro GL.

16 MB cards support resolutions up to 1600 x 1200 in 65,000 colours, or 1280 x 1024 in 16.7M colours. In 2D modes, these cards support resolutions up to 1920 x 1200.

Models with this chipset include:

  • Xpert 2000 32 MB
  • Xpert 128 16 MB
  • Rage Fury 32 MB
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 128 16 MB
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 128 32 MB

WARNING: The drivers for this card as well as the ATI Rage 128 were pretty bad.

Radeon 7000-series

Launched:April 2000
Chipset: R100
Bus: AGP 2x
Core Clock Speed: 183 MHz
Memory: 32 MB or 64 MB DDR
Memory Speed: 183 MHz (366 MHz effective due to DDR)
Direct X Support: 7.0
OpenGL Support: 1.3

The R100 was the first Radeon GPU from ATI, featured 3D acceleration based on DirectX 7.0 and OpenGL 1.3. All but the entry-level cards with this GPU offload host geometry calculations to a hardware transform and lighting (T&L) engine, a major improvement in features and performance compared to the preceding Rage design. The processors also include 2D GUI acceleration, video acceleration, and multiple display outputs. "R100" refers to the development codename of the initially released GPU of the generation.

The first card to use R100 was the Radeon DDR, launched in Spring 2000. A slower SDR-memory card with 32 MB of memory was released in mid-2000 to compete with nVidia's GeForce2 MX.
There was also an OEM-only 32MB DDR card in 2000, called Radeon LE, which run at 143 MHz both in core and memory.

In 2001, the Radeon 7200 which had 64 MB SDR was released. After this, all R100-based cards were known as Radeon 7200 in keeping with ATI's new model numbering.

A cheaper variant of R100 called RV100 was launched in 2001. This was later renamed Radeon 7000. It has only 1 pixel pipeline, no hardware T&L, a 64-bit memory bus and no HyperZ. From a 3D performance perspective, it didn't fare well against nVidia GeForce2 MX.

 

Radeon 8000-series

Launched: August 2001
Chipset: R200
Bus: AGP 4x
Core Clock Speed: 275 MHz
Memory: 64 MB DDR*
Memory Speed: 275 MHz
Direct X Support: 8.1
OpenGL Support: ?

The R200 chipset features 4 pixel pipelines, each with 2 texture sampling units. It has 2 vertex shaders and a legacy Direct3D 7 TCL unit, marketed as Charisma Engine II. It was ATI's first GPU with programmable pixel and vertex processors, called Pixel Tapestry II, and was compliant with Direct3D 8.1

The first R200-based card from ATI was the Radeon 8500, launched in October 2001. It go a 275 MHz core and memory clock. A lower clocked version was released in early 2002 called Radeon 8500LE (250 MHz core and either 200 or 250 MHz memory clock).

*Later Radeon 8500 cards got 128 MB DDR RAM, which also got a small performance boost due to a memory interleaving mode.