R600, ATI's high-end upcoming DirectX 10 GPU, has faced a few bumps in the road, as problems have delayed it from its original intended release in late 2006 to perhaps one as late as mid 2007. But does it really matter? According to an article on The Inq, not really. Graphics companies make their major profits off of the mid-range cards because the top dollar products are affordable to only a relatively small group of enthusiasts.
Lets look at what was delayed and why. It was R600, the top dog of the bunch, not the lower end RV630 and RV610. If you look at the lust factor, there is R600 and other products, by the time you get to the RV610, you are in the territory of low-end stuff that no one really actually wants - think checkbox on the store shelf territory. Conversely, the high-end stuff sells comparatively little, mid-range more, and low-end parts sell like mad. Dev costs follow the lust scale, the R600 cards are a pain to engineer and don't sell well, the low-end stuff is more 'pawn it off to the intern' territory. Profits are fattest in the mid range, followed by the low end, and then the top end makes a little bit, if any.