Tyan Tachyon G9500 Pro Review - HotHardware

Tyan Tachyon G9500 Pro Review

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The Tyan Tachyon G9500 Pro
A Power-packed card for the mainstream

"Burned in" by Robert Maloney
May 8, 2003

   

Often, when you look at hardware ads in magazines, you will see somewhere in there a benchmark score.  A 3DMark score to be more specific, will scream "16,348 out of the box", or list the system components with a number at the bottom.  While these are prevalent, why aren't Winstones or other system benchmarks shown as often?  The reason is, no other section of the computer hardware market is as hotly contested and eagerly anticipated as the graphics industry.  New, more powerful graphics cards fuel the games we play each day.  Game companies seem to spend more time producing better graphics (sometimes at the cost of playability unfortunately), which leads to the need for more powerful video cards.  It's cyclic in nature.  While some users will invariably go out and purchase the "best of the best", most of the video cards that are purchased are within the $100-200 range.  This range is usually referred to as the "mainstream".

Tyan, a company more well known for their stable motherboards, has been producing their "Tachyon" line of cards based on ATi's R300 VPU.  Rather than simply branding their name on a popular reference board and shipping it out, they have kept an eye out for the hardware enthusiast.  Their first offering, the Tachyon G9700 Pro, received pretty high marks from our main man Marco, back in January.  The Tachyon G9500 Pro we received, based on the Radeon 9500, has its VPU and memory speeds clocked lower than the Radeon 9700s, and is considered a mainstream offering with its lower price.  All indications however, point to a great performance to price ratio.

Let's see if Tyan can keep us impressed...

Specifications & Features of the Tyan Tachyon G9500 Pro
Mainstream DX9 Part...

The Tyan Tachyon G9500 Pro

     

  
CLICK ANY IMAGE ABOVE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

GRAPHICS TECHNOLOGY

R300 Visual Processing Unit (VPU)

  • 275 MHz core frequency

MEMORY CONFIGURATION

  • 128MB of double data rate SDRAM
  • 540 MHz DDR frequency

3D GRAPHICS FEATURES

  • Eight parallel rendering pipelines process up to 2.6 billion pixels per second
  • Four parallel geometry engines process up to 325 million transformed and lit polygons per second
  • High precision 10-bit per channel framebuffer support
  • 128-bit DDR memory interface
  • AGP 8X support

-SMARTSHADER? 2.0

  • Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable pixel and vertex shaders in hardware
  • 2.0 Pixel Shaders support up to 16 textures per rendering pass
  • 2.0 Vertex Shaders support vertex programs up to 1024 instructions with flow control
  • New 128-bit per pixel floating point color formats
  • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
  • Shadow volume rendering acceleration
  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL via extensions

-SMOOTHVISION? 2.0

  • State-of-the-art full-scene anti-aliasing
  • New technology processes up to 15.6 billion anti-aliased samples per second for unprecedented performance
  • Supports 2x, 4x, and 6x modes with programmable sample patterns
  • Advanced anisotropic filtering
  • Supports up to 16 bilinear samples (in performance mode) or trilinear samples (in quality mode) per pixel
  • 2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes
  • Adaptive algorithm with programmable sample patterns
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes
  • Adaptive algorithm with bilinear (performance) and trilinear (quality) options
  • Bandwidth-saving algorithm enables this feature with minimal performance cost

-HYPERZ? III

  • Hierarchical Z-Buffer and Early Z Test reduce overdraw by detecting and discarding hidden pixels
  • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression and Fast Z-Buffer Clear reduce memory bandwidth consumption by over 50%
  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear

-TRUFORM? 2.0

  • 2nd generation N-patch higher order surface support
  • Discrete and continuous tessellation levels per polygon for dynamic LOD
  • DirectX 9.0 displacement mapping
VIDEO FEATURES

-VIDEOSHADER?

  • Seamless integration of programmable pixel shaders with video data
  • High quality, hardware accelerated de-blocking of internet streaming video
  • Noise removal filter for captured video
  • Integrated MPEG-2 decode
  • Hardware accelerated iDCT, motion compensation, and color space conversion
  • Top quality DVD and all-format DTV/HDTV decode with low CPU overhead
  • Back-end scaler delivers top quality playback
  • Upscaling and downscaling with 4-tap horizontal and vertical filtering
  • Filtered display of images up to 1920 pixels wide
  • Unique per-pixel adaptive de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the ?bob? and ?add-field? (weave) techniques

FULLSTREAM? video de-blocking technology

  • Noise removal filtering for captured video
  • MPEG-2 decoding with motion compensation, iDCT and color space conversion
  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
  • YPrPb component output
  • Adaptive de-interlacing and frame rate conversion
  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI and HDCP compliant)
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Optimized for Pentium® 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon? 3Dnow!
  • PC 2002 compliant

DISPLAY FEATURES

  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
  • HYDRAVISION? software provides complete control over multi-display configurations with a user-friendly interface
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel palette DACs operating at up to 400MHz
  • Integrated 165MHz TMDS transmitter supports resolutions up to QXGA (2048x1536) and complies with DVI and HDCP specifications
  • Integrated TV-Out support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • YPrPb output for direct drive of HDTV monitors

DISPLAY SUPPORT

  • 15-pin VGA connector for analog CRT
  • S-video or composite connector for TV/VCR
  • DVI-I connector for digital CRT or flat panel
  • Independent resolutions and refresh rates for any two connected displays

GENERAL FEATURES

  • Comprehensive 2x, 4x, and 8x AGP support
  • High performance quad-channel DDR memory interface supports 64/128/256MB configurations
  • Fully compliant with PC 2002 requirements
  • Optimized for Pentium® 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon? 3Dnow! processor instructions
  • Supports optional THEATER? 200 companion chip for NTSC/PAL/SECAM video capture
  • Highly optimized 128-bit 2D engine with support for new Windows® XP GDI extensions

The Bundle:

 
Tyan Tachyon G9500 Pro
4-pin Power Cable
 S-Video Cable
Composite Video Cable
S-Video to Composite Video Cable
DVI-to-VGA Adapter
User's Manual
Software & Drivers CD
Quick Installation Guide
TGM 2.0 User's Guide
 

Tyan aims to please graphics enthusiasts with their Tachyon line of cards but didn't add in frivolous extras that might raise the overall cost.  There are three cables for S-Video out, Composite video out, or converting S-Video to Composite.  There also was a DVI-to-VGA adapter for users looking to use multiple monitors.  Tyan included no less than three manuals; a fairly comprehensive User's Guide, and two brief guides on installation of the card and use of the Tachyon Graphics Monitor 2.0 software.  The CD came with drivers, the previously mentioned TGM 2.0 software, and a full copy of WinDVD 4.0.  Aside from a packed-in game, the bundle appears to have all the necessary pieces to get the most out of the card.

 A closer look at the card.

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