Abit's Radeon 9800 XT 256MB

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Abit's Radeon 9800 XT 256MB
ATi Invades More of NVIDIA's Turf...

By, Marco Chiappetta
February 24, 2004

Head-to-Head Performance With Tomb Raider: AOD
Lara is Back! As Crappy as Ever!


Tomb Raider: AOD

Although Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness won't be winning any "Game of the Year" awards, it is one of the more advanced DirectX games currently available. We've recorded a custom demo of Lara jogging through an indoor garden area in the "Prague3" map. When using the Pixel Shader 2.0 code path, this area of the game utilizes a DOF (depth of field) blurring effect to enhance the sense of depth and size. We ran our custom demo at a resolution of 1024x768 and then again at 1600x1200, using both the Pixel Shader 1.4 and 2.0 code paths (with and without 4x anti-aliasing in the PS 2.0 tests).

The widespread reports of NVIDIA's trouble with DX9 shader performance really manifest in our custom Tomb Raider benchmark.  At 1600x1200, using the DX8 class pixel shader 1.4 code path, the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra's huge memory bandwidth advantage help it pull off a win, but in all of the other test configurations the Abit Radeon 9800 XT was the clear victor.  As is evident by looking at the results in the Aquamark 3, Halo, Gun Metal, Splinter Cell and the Tomb Raider benchmarks, the Radeon 9800 XT is currently the best choice for DX9 class games.  Whether or not this remains the case with some future titles remains to be seen.

Overclocking With The Abit Radeon 9800XT 256MB
Fast is Good.  Faster is Better!


ATi's Overdrive

Sure, all Radeon 9800 XTs are fast, but you know as well as we do, there is always some overclocking headroom available to squeeze every last frame per second out of the hardware.  Enabling the Overdrive feature available within ATi's drivers, gave the Abit Radeon 9800 XT a small boost in performance, but we wanted to see just how far this card would go.  So, we installed Rage3D Tweak, and slowly raised the core and memory clock speeds until we begun to see visual artifacts on-screen during the benchmarks.  In the end, we were able to take the Abit Radeon 9800 XT up from it's default 412MHz core and 730MHz (DDR) memory clock speeds, to a maximum 443MHz / 800MHz.  We then re-ran the 1280x1024 Gun Metal benchmark with the card overclocked to see how the increased clock speeds affected actual in-game performance.  While overclocked, we saw a respectable 7.8% increase in frame rate, which was enough to push the Abit Radeon 9800 XT past the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra in this test.

 

When all was said and done, we were very pleased with the Abit Radeon 9800 XT.  With its powerful GPU, it tore through our battery of benchmarks with ease and we found its 2D and in-game 3D image quality to be excellent, but there are some chinks in its armor.  We checked Pricewatch.Com and Pricegrabber.Com, and found only two retailers selling the Abit Radeon 9800 XT.  Both had the card listed at about $470 USD, which is 10-15% higher than most other 9800 XTs.  The Abit Radeon 9800 XT is brand new, however, so expect this price to drop as more retailers get the card in stock.  Abit's software and accessory bundle was also a bit sparse, especially when compared to competing cards like Sapphire's, which includes two full games and some proprietary utilities.  In the end, Abit's Radeon 9800 XT is as good as any other, but with its spartan bundle and relatively high price, there are currently some better deals available.  In its current form, we're giving the Abit Radeon 9800 XT a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 8.5.

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Tags:  Radeon, Abit, 980, XT

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