ATI is set to announce a new high-performance Mac-compatible Radeon card in the autumn, industry insiders believe. It is said the card will offer similar powerful features seen in the company's recent releases for Wintel machines.

ATI recently announced its most powerful Wintel card to date - the Radeon 8500. Pundits predict that a Mac version of this will replace the company's existing top-end Mac offering, the Radeon Mac Edition.

The move is expected to put ATI back in the frame against NVidia, whose 32MB GeForce2 MX graphics card now ships with all G4 Power Macs.

The $399 Radeon 8500 is set to ship in mid-September. It features 64MB of 275MHz DDR (Double Data Rate) memory and 60 million transistors. Its transistors just beat its key rival Nvidia, whose GeForce3 has 57 million transistors.

Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Associates, a market research firm specializing in graphics and consumer media technology said: "NVidia and ATI will just keep trading first place. It's a good thing for the industry and for both companies. It keeps them honest and keeps them trying harder. And it means that consumers are the winners."

A second ATI Wintel chip, the Radeon 7500, costs $179 and ships with 64MB of 230MHz DDR memory. A third product is also in the pipeline – the Radeon Fire GL 8800, a high-end workstation board for CAD and other OpenGL users.

Jewelle Schiedel-Webb, ATI's director of desktop marketing, said: "The 7500 delivers an unprecedented level of performance to the mainstream market. It's faster than anything that shipped even six months ago.

"In some ways, it's even faster than the Radeon 8500. The 7500's core clock-speed is 270MHz, compared to the 250MHz of the 8500. Schiedel-Webb attributes the difference to the maturity and complexity of the architecture. The 7500's chip is less complex than the 8500's chip and has been around longer, leading to a higher core speed through fine-tuning," she says.

Both the high-end boards offer an option for Hydravision, ATI's dual-display technology, as well as other previously announced technologies. They can support Truform, a rendering technology that smoothes out 3D images, and SmartShader, a technology that offers faster, more detailed animations on lower bandwidth.