VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128MB AGP - HotHardware

VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128MB AGP

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VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128MB AGP
Back from the Dead with a Whole New Attitude

By - Jeff Bouton
July 1, 2003

It wasn't that long ago that VisionTek was one of the top manufacturers of nVidia based graphics cards.  The Xtasy line offered a wide range of solutions, from the budget MX series, to the top card of the day, the GeForce 4 Ti4600.  Then suddenly VisionTek was "gone".  Those of us who were familiar with the company were quite surprised.  There were a few rumors of trouble brewing, but no major signs that they had planned to cease production of their "Xtasy" nVidia based product line.  Instead, we just woke up one morning and the "old" VisionTek was no more.  Legal wrangling and asset liquidation commenced and all in all, it was a bit ugly.

A lot has changed since then.  VisionTek has since been resurrected.  Hartford Computer Group, based out of Connecticut, bought up the remaining VisionTek assets, realigned the inner workings of the company and found themselves a new partner in ATi.  Today VisionTek manufacturers all of the OEM ATi products directly for ATi and they've brought back the Xtasy product line with a whole new look.  The bottom line is, however, this is an entirely new company that is striving to make a new name for itself again in the retail video card market.

Today we have our first opportunity to review the new VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128.  Seeing how VisionTek manufactures these cards directly for ATi, we were curious to see if they were going to add a little flavor of their own, or simply stamp their name on an ATi box.  Let's take a look.
 

Specifications & Features of the VisionTek 9800 Pro 128MB
Powerful Yet Refined.

 
RADEON? 9800 Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
380MHz Core Clock

MEMORY CONFIGURATION

  • 128MB of Double Data rate SDRAM - 340MHz DDR (680MHz)

3D GRAPHICS FEATURES

  • Eight parallel rendering pipelines process up to 3.04 billion pixels per second

  • Four parallel geometry engines process up to 380 million transformed and lit polygons per second

  • High precision 10-bit per channel frame buffer support

  • 256-bit DDR memory interface

  • AGP 8X support

-SMARTSHADER? 2.1

  • 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 with an unlimited number of instructions and flow control

  • 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? 2.1

  • State-of-the-art full-scene anti-aliasing

  • New technology processes up to 18.2 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

-HYPER Z? 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

  • 8.8 : 1 Compression Ratio

  • Optimized Z-Cache for enhanced performance of shadow volumes

-TRUFORM? II

  • 2nd generation N-patch higher order surface support

  • Discrete and continuous tessellation levels per polygon for dynamic LOD

  • DirectX 9.0 displacement mapping

 
-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 or DDR2 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:

There were a couple of things, right out of the box, that caught our attention.  The box is constructed from a clear plastic material with the artwork painted on, which creates an interesting translucent effect.  The Xtasy logo remained virtually unchanged.  The description of the card on the rear of the box, however, is the real attention getter.  In an obvious effort to get the attention of the younger PC gaming crowd, VisionTek opted to describe the card with a little of today's more colorful lingo.  With such statements as "ILLEST BRO ON DA BLOCK" and "FREAKen' SICKest Visual Effects", we found it hard to keep a straight face.  One would think the target market would be the more seasoned crowd, since they would be the most likely candidates to have "$400 smackers" to shell out for this "mutha."

CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

OK, all kidding aside, we did find that the package was virtually the same as it arrives from ATi direct.  We would have expected a little variation in package contents, instead the box contained only the standard components with no bonus games or other colorful extras.  The box included S-Video and RCA cables as well as coupler for connecting to the video card's TV out features.  A VGA to DVI adapter is included to connect a standard VGA monitor to the DVI connector on the card itself.  A Y-Molex power cable was provided for powering the video card without coming up short a power connect.  Lastly, a setup CD and quick setup guide (not pictured) was also provided to successfully install the card and get it up and running.

Next Up - The Card & Image Quality... 

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