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jmke 16th June 2004 12:12

Sapphire Technology Denounced for Cut-Down Graphics Cards
Sapphire Technology faced condemnation from a group of enthusiasts for its cut-down graphics cards featuring RADEON 9800 PRO graphics processors. An individual accuses one of the largest makers of Powered by ATI products in unfair and misleading policy of marking its graphics cards.

Jack Kielsmeier, an individual from Armes, Iowa, has established a web-site that urges to stop buying graphics cards from Sapphire Technology because of the company’s alleged unfair policy. The author of the “Boycott Sapphire” web-site believes that the company wrongly advertised and marked its RADEON 9800 PRO “128-bit Edition” graphics card and mislead customers about its performance.

Sapphire Technology’s ATLANTIS RADEON 9800 PRO “128-bit Edition” started to emerge for sale in late May. The graphics cards features fully-fledged RADEON 9800 PRO graphics processor with 8 rendering pipelines, but is based on PCB similar to that of RADEON 9500 PRO – with 128-bit memory bus for 128MB of DDR SDRAM memory.

The original RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB graphics cards were clocked at 385MHz/680MHz for chip/memory and equipped with 128MB of DDR SDRAM with 256-bit bus. Cutting down the memory bus width to 128-bit is likely to seriously reduce performance of the graphics card in applications that rely on rapid memory access as well as in situations when full-scene anti-aliasing is enabled.

Sapphire is known for making rather exotic graphics cards powered by chips from ATI Technologies. The company was among the first to go with the RADEON 9800 SE and also created a number of other designs typically considered as extraordinary. Making unusual graphics cards allows Sapphire to address more clients with its offerings and also offer more cost-effective solutions.

The web-site states that the “RADEON 9800 PRO” brand-name means something more powerful than the ATLANTIS RADEON 9800 PRO “128-bit Edition” products are. It claims that the “unfair marketing trick” that mislead a number of “victims” should be punished.

Mr. Kielsmeier and representatives for Sapphire Technology could not be reached for comment at press time.

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