Introducing the VisionTek 9800 Pro 128MB
Hmmm...This Looks Familiar
took a closer look at the VisonTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128, we
found it to be the very same card that ATi offers.
VisionTek did not spend any time outfitting the card with
unique features to give it a look of their own. We
thought a custom cooler would be a simple way to give the
card a more recognizable appearance as a VisionTek product,
but in the end, aside from the packaging, there is no
discernable way to tell that this card is a VisionTek
marketed product at all. Instead we found ATi stamped
on the cooler and an ATi sticker next to the Molex power
The card is
powered by ATi's R350 core, clocked at 380MHz. The VPU
has a standard cooling package that marries up nicely to a
shim and thin layer of thermal grease for efficient heat
transfer. While the cooler is nothing more than a
stock design, it is quite capable of managing the heat
generated by the core both efficiently and quietly.
The VPU is complimented by 128MB of Samsung BGA DDR RAM
clocked at 340MHz (680MHz DDR). A 256MB model is also
planned. The card sports a standard VGA output as well
as a DVI output for flat panel display support, each of
which are powered by their own 400MHz RAMDAC. Dual CRT
monitor output is supported with the use of the VGA to DVI
adapter provided in the packaging. Between the two
video outputs is the TV/Video out connector for those
wanting to output video to a television or VCR..
all, there is nothing groundbreaking to be found with the
VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128. Its a standard reference
design. What you will find is a re-branded ATi Radeon
9800 Pro. Before we get into the performance of this
card, however, let's take a look at what makes it all come
ATi's Catalyst 3.4 Drivers
Brains Behind the Brawn
One of the strong points for
any ATi based video card is the Catalyst driver set.
The Catalyst drivers have a number of features to
automatically adjust a cards feature for performance and
stability and it appears to be working. The interface
has already undergone several revisions to help users easily
access and understand all of the drivers features. We
are particularly fond of the Main Setting slider that lets
the user adjust the various visual qualities with a single
slider bar rather than manipulating each setting themselves.
However, they did not get in the way of the control freak,
allowing for each setting to be manually set as well.
Clearly the ATi
Catalyst Drivers are the brains behind a lot of this video
card's capabilities. Next we'll take a quick look and
the various presets in the Catalyst drivers and see how each
compares as the visual quality is increased.
Candy with Antialiasing & Anisotropic Filtering
We often like to throw a
little eye candy your way when we review a powerful video
card that is capable of running extreme visual qualities.
This time around we opted for Serious Sam: The Second
Encounter, to demonstrate the various preset settings within
the Catalyst 3.4 driver set. Below you'll see four
examples of the graphics quality while running the OpenGL
demo. Instead of manually configuring each screen, we
adjusted the Main Setting slider between Performance,
Balanced & Quality and then wrapped things up by manually
increasing each setting to their maximum.
With the drivers
set for performance we can see a lot of jagged edges with
the tree, water line and gun, and there is low detail on the
grass. When we increased the setting to Balanced, the
drivers increased the Texture preference and Mipmap detail
levels which improved the quality ever so slightly versus
the Performance setting. Next we increased the slider
to Quality which set the Texture preference and Mipmap
detail levels to their maximums and turned on Antialiasing
at 4X and Anisotropic filtering to 16X. Now we see the
texture and detail of the grass really come out and the
jagged edges of the tree, water line and gun greatly
reduced, the overall picture really sharpened up nicely.
Lastly we pushed Antialiasing to the top setting of 6X.
It turned out to be difficult comparing the Maximum settings
vs. Quality, but as we continued to look we could see
slightly greater details in the grass at further distances,
but overall it was tough to tell the difference.
Next we'll take a look at
gaming performance with several familiar OpenGL and DirectX
based games to see how the Xtasy 9800 Pro 128 compared to
Benchmarking the Xtasy 9800Pro!