Unitech Optimus 8500 eXP - HotHardware

Unitech Optimus 8500 eXP

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The Unitech Optimus 8500 eXP
A RADEON 8500 tweaked out for the masses

By -Chris Angelini
May 29th, 2002

 

Optimus 8500 eXP
ATI's RADEON 8500 in disguise

  

Drivers and Utilities
Faster and faster...

The reference 7.68 drivers that are included with the board are the same drivers ATI hosts on their own site.  The most recent release, 7.70 has an impressive impact on performance as indicated by the brief comparison below.  It should also be noted that the 7.70 drivers support anisotropic filtering in Direct3D programs - a feature still missing from NVIDIA's own driver set.

Overclocking The Optimus 8500
Impressive memory headroom

ATI doesn't support overclocking through a hidden registry key like NVIDIA, so we rely on application like PowerStrip from Entech or the included OptiTweak taskbar utility.  Here are some screen shots of this handy utility home grown by Unitech. 

     

Screenshots
Giants and Serious Sam - DX7 stuff

As previously mentioned, neither Serious Sam nor Giants fully utilizes the DirectX 8.1 features of the RADEON 8500 graphics processor.  In fact, Giants was released around the time of the GeForce2 GTS, so it takes advantage of the fixed geometry pipeline of the Charisma Engine II with some shader effects.  Both games still provide entertaining game play and look great at high resolutions, but we still would have liked to see something a little more modern.

     
Shots taken on the Optimus 8500 eXP
Giants and Serious Sam The Second Encounter
Click for full viewing

2D Desktop Image Quality:

ATI has earned acclaim for crisp 2D quality.  At the same time, NVIDIA has a history of being lambasted for lackluster output.  The difference between the two companies is that ATI gets to choose the components on its video cards, while NVIDIA?s graphics processors are often used in conjunction with board components of lower quality.  Since third-party manufacturers make these decisions, one of our worries about the Optimus 8500 was that Unitech may have opted for similarly sub-standard filter components in an effort to cut down on manufacturing costs.  Fortunately, the card was able to output sharp text, even at 1600x1200.
 

Test Setup, Quake 3 With and Without AA and Anisotropic Filtering

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