ATI 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro

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The 256MB ATi Radeon 9800 Pro
It's Here!  But What Does the Extra Memory Mean to Gamers?

By - Marco Chiappetta
May 12, 2003

Futuremark's 3DMark03 generated quite a bit of buzz immediately after its release.  Certain parties deemed it was not a meaningful benchmark because there aren't any games that use the same shader programming techniques.  Whether it's indicative of actual game performance or not, the bottom line is that it remains one of the only tools we have to test DirectX 9 class pixel and vertex shaders in a simulated game environment.  Until true DX9 class games arrive that give us the ability to accurately test performance, 3DMark03 is "it".  We ran 3DMark03 on all of the cards represented here, at the benchmark's default settings (1024x768x32).

Benchmarks With 3DMark03
It's What We've Got For Now
 

RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB
 

RADEON 9800 PRO
 

RADEON 9700 PRO
 

GEFORCE FX 5800 ULTRA

As expected, the 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro outperformed all of the other cards in every "Game Test".  The overall 3DMark03 score showed a paltry 3.8% performance gain over a 128MB Radeon 9800 Pro, but breaking down the individual "Game" scores tells the whole story.  In the least demanding "Game Test 1 (GT1)", the 256MB Radeon outran the 128MB model by less than 1%.  In "Game Test 2 (GT2)" and "Game Test 3 (GT3)" however, the results were better, with the 256MB card pulling ahead by about 4.8% and 3.0% respectively.  In the most demanding test in the suite, "Game Test 4 (GT4)", the 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro showed the largest performance gain over the 128MB card, 8.6%.  When compared to the 9700 Pro and GeForce FX 5800 Ultra, the 256MB 9800 Pro's advantages are even larger.

Head-to-Head Performance With Comanche 4
Semper Fidelis

We continued our DirectX benchmarking with Novalogic's combat helicopter simulator, Comanche 4.  Comanche 4 uses DX8 class pixel and vertex shaders to produce some of the realistic visuals used throughout the game.  Don't be distracted by what look like relatively "low" frame rates in this test, this benchmark is heavily influenced by CPU performance and overall system bandwidth...

At 1024x768, regardless of whether or not Antialiasing or Anisotropic Filtering were enabled, the 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro performed at virtually the same level as the other cards.  It was slightly faster in most configurations, but not by much.  The differences in performance at 1600x1200 were much more dramatic, however.  Without AA at 1600x1200, all of the scores are basically identical, but with 4X AA enabled the 256MB Radeon was approximately 4.7% faster than the 128MB model.  With 6X AA enabled the 256MB 9800 Pro surged ahead with a 14.5% advantage, and when 4X AA and 8X Anisotropic Filtering were used together it jumped out to an even larger 16.7% lead.

UT2003 & Quake 3 Benchmarks 

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, 980, pro

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