The majority of the performance-hungry 3D-gamers may not even be aware of it, but ATi has been the most successful 3D-chip and 3D-card maker for quite a while now in terms of sold units as well as revenues. Many of you may ask why. The secret behind ATI's success is very different to the 'make the fastest 3D-chip so you'll be most successful'-approach of 3Dfx or NVIDIA. ATI has been able to supply the market with decently performing 3D-hardware at very reasonable prices, with an excellent list of additional features, a good support and the ability to deliver product very reliably. This is why OEMs love ATI and you won't find any OEM or large system integrator that does not use ATI-cards in at least some of its product lines. Whilst 3Dfx and NVIDIA were fighting for the 3D-crown, ATI sat back and simply sold their products in a very professional manner. Those products weren't necessarily the fastest, but the performance was good enough, the list of multimedia-features was just what OEMs required, the pricing was decent and the products were delivered reliably.
Now this does of course not mean that ATI wouldn't have to be able and supply well performing products too. ATi's Rage 128 was not quite able to compete with the fastest 3D-chips anymore by the time when 3Dfx released their Voodoo3 and later on when NVIDIA brought RIVA TNT2 to the market. Still Rage128-products sold fine, but eventually the people expected more performance from ATI as well. Now ATi's next chip Rage 128 Pro is ready to close the gap, and starting to compete against the top 3D-performers of the last 8 months. ATI-cards with this new chip are again not targeted to reach for the 3D-crown, but you'll see that those cards will again sell very successfully, again for the same reasons mentioned above.
We had a close look at the Rage Fury Pro and a prototype of the Rage Fury MAXX, to see what kind of performance we can expect from the new ATI-chip and how it stands up against its competitors.