ATI RADEON 9250

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With a majority of the market focusing their attention on high-end graphics cards, many forget about the consumers who are seeking a low-cost upgrade or replacement part.  These consumers are often willing to sacrifice performance when looking for cards with price points that are substantially lower than enthusiast-class boards.  Yet they seek performance levels which are adequate for the occasional death-match.  This is where ATI's mid-range card, the Radeon 9250, steps in.  Taking into consideration the values of the mid-range demographic, ATI has tried to produce a card which offers a rich list of specifications, yet is easy on the not-so-padded wallet.

Offering four pixel-pipeline, AGP 8x support and 128MB of DDR RAM, the ATI Radeon 9250 rounds off the tail end of ATi's product line.  Though there are no swank fans with blinking LED's to be found, the eye-catching cutaway on the PCB board clearly distinguishes this card from the rest of pack.  In the following pages we will be covering an overview of the card itself, followed by benchmarks with comparison to Diamonds S100 and S110, overclocking ability and lastly, our final thoughts.  So, let's not waste anymore time and fire this card up...

Specifications & Features
Tech-Specs of the ATI Radeon 9250

Specifications

System Requirements
  • Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4/III/II/Celeron™, AMD(R) K6/Duron™/Athlon(R)/Athlon XP(R) or compatible with AGP 2X (3.3V), 4X (1.5V), 8X (0.8v) or Universal AGP 3.0 bus configuration (2X/4X/8X) or PCI bus.
  • 64MB of system memory
  • Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
  • DVD playback requires DVD drive
Graphics technology
  • RADEON(R)9200SE, RADEON(R) 9200 or RADEON(R) 9250 graphics technology
Memory configuration
  • 256MB for specific Add-In-Board designs - RADEON(R) 9250
  • 128MB of DDR memory
  • RADEON™ 9200SE available with 64MB or 128MB DDR
Operating system support
  • Windows(R) XP
  • Windows(R) 2000
  • Windows(R) Me
  • Windows(R) 98/98SE
Monitor support
  • CRT monitor: 15-pin VGA connector
  • RADEON(R) 9250 – Range of Add-In-Board designs *
  • RADEON(R) 9200 – VGA/RCA/S-video
  • RADEON(R) 9200SE - VGA/RCA/S-video
  • RADEON(R) 9200SE - DVI/RCA/S-video
     

* for a full range of Add-In-Board designs, please consult the Add-In-Board manufacturer

Display support
  • Register compatible with VGA
  • Supports VESA PnP compatible displays
  • BIOS compatible with VESA for super VGA
  • DDC1/2b/2b+ monitor support
  • VESA Display Power Management Support
  • Separate horizontal and vertical synchronization at TTL levels
Features
 
  • CHARISMA ENGINE™ II
    • Four parallel rendering pipelines process up to 1.1 billion pixels per second
    • High performance 2nd generation hardware transform & lighting engine
    • Advanced vertex shader support for the latest programmable effects
       
  • SMARTSHADER™ technology
  •  
    • Full support for DirectX (R) 8.1 programmable pixel and vertex shaders in hardware
    • 1.4 pixel shaders support up to 22 instructions and up to 6 textures per rendering pass
    • 1.1 vertex shaders support vertex programs up to 128 instructions
    • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL (R) via extensions
    • Programmable shaders provide enhanced 3D effects in over 100 existing and upcoming game titles
       
  • SMOOTHVISION™
    • Image quality enhancement features for Direct3D™ and OpenGL (R) applications
    • Programmable full-scene anti-aliasing supports 2 to 6 samples with user selectable performance and quality modes
    • Advanced anisotropic filtering supports 2 to 16 samples for high quality texture rendering with minimal performance impact
       
  • HYPER Z™ II
    • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression and Fast Z-Buffer Clear reduce memory bandwidth by up to 25%
       

 

 

 

  • VIDEO FEATURES
    • FULLSTREAM™ Hardware accelerated de-blocking of Internet video streams
    • VIDEO IMMERSION™ II delivers industry-leading DVD playback
    • Integrated MPEG-2 decode including iDCT and motion compensation for top quality DVD with lowest CPU usage
    • Unique Adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the "bob" and "add-field" (weave) techniques
    • YUV to RGB color space conversion
    • Back-end scaler delivers top quality playback
    • 4-tap horizontal and vertical filtering
    • Upscaling and downscaling
    • Filtered display of images up to 1920 pixels wide
    • Hardware mirroring for flipping video images in video conferencing systems
    • Supports 8-bit alpha blending and video keying for effective overlay of video and graphics
       
  • DISPLAY FEATURES
    • Dual integrated display controllers to drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
    • HYDRAVISION™ software provides complete control over multi-display configurations with a user-friendly interface
    • 400MHz Dual integrated DACs with 10-bit per channel palette
    • Integrated DVI-compliant 165MHz TMDS transmitter
    • Integrated TV-Out support up to 1024x768 resolution
       
  • GENERAL FEATURES
    • Comprehensive 4X and 8X AGP support
    • Windows(R) Logo Program compliant
    • Optimized for Pentium (R) 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon™ 3Dnow! processor instructions
    • Highly optimized 128-bit 2D engine with support for new Windows(R) XP GDI extensions

 

 

Visual Inspection
Whipping out the eye-glass


Physically, ATi's Radeon 9250 does not sport anything out of the ordinary (cutaway aside).  Located in the center of the card, there is a black anodized aluminum heatsink which is attached to the green PCB by two spring clips and thermal epoxy.  Though the use of epoxy does ensure the heatsink will stay in place, it does present an inconvenience for those consumers who wish to alter the stock cooling solution. Although, we doubt potential buyers would buy this card with the intent of modifying it.  Surrounding the VPU are the eight (four on the front, four on the back) standard DDR SGRAM 16Mx16 chips (16MB each x 8 chips = 128MB).  The inclusion of VGA, S-Video and composite connections provides the user with a wide variety of connectivity options.  However, we where a bit disappointed to see the absence of a DVI port which could potentially discourage some LCD using consumers from buying this card.

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