ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 Review

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The ATi All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 Review
Will The Real All-In-Wonder Please Stand Up?

By, Jeff Bouton
April 22, 2002


 

Benchmarking With Quake 3 
OpenGL

Now, what OpenGL test would be complete without a run at Quake 3?  The reign Quake 3 has had, as a leading OpenGL stress test, has been impressive to say the least.  Even though video cards have increased in power and technology tenfold since it was first released, Quake 3 has held firm as a formidable stress test, for even the most powerful of gaming cards.  With Serious Sam SE, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 did a fine job of handling the OpenGL test, closing the gap with nVidia's finest.  The question remains, how will the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 perform with this legacy benchmark utility?  Well, we set the test to "High Quality" and maxed out the textures and let the cards do their stuff.  Let's take a look...


 

Here we see the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 gave both Ti's a closer race, tying the Ti500's performance.  Even while overclocked, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 couldn't oust the Ti4600.  Perhaps as the drivers of the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 mature, we may see these scores tip in favor of the Radeon.

As the resolution increased, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 lost further ground to the Ti4600, while the older Ti500 held firm.


 

Even at 1600x1200, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 couldn't beat the Ti500, although it was VERY close.  In the next test we turned up the heat with the addition of 4X Full Screen Anti-Aliasing to the test to see how well the games performed without sacrificing visual quality.

Here we see the true dominance of the Ti4600, although, traditionally nVidia has held the upper hand when it comes to "Antialiasing."  The Ti4600 managed to pump out a playable 68.2 FPS at 1600x1200x32 with all settings maximized, while the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 was clearly not up to the task.

In our final tests, we wanted to see how the All-In-Wonder card performed with Anisotropic Filtering enabled compared to the Ti4600.  As Marco noted in his recent 8500LE review, it is important to note that nVidia and ATi both handle Anisotropic filtering quite differently.  What NVIDIA calls 32-Tap Anisotropic filtering (4X in their drivers) is not quite what ATi calls 32-Tap Anisotropic filtering (8X in their drivers).  On top of that, the Radeon 8500 is not capable of true trilinear filtering with Anisotropic filtering turned on, so with this test we set Quake 3 to bilinear to keep things fair. 


Here is where the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 takes control and makes nVidia's more powerful Ti4600 bow to its Anisotropic superiority.  With this setting enabled, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 took a firm lead over the Ti4600.  The Ti4600 on the other hand dropped tremendously with Anisotropic filtering enabled, compared to without.  Either way you look at it, Quake 3 is playable with either card at 1280x1024x32. 

Finally, we will leave the 32-Tap Anisotropic filtering enable and tack on 2X FSAA to pretty things up a bit.


 

Here the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 took a nose dive, slipping quite a bit with even 2X FSAA enabled.  The Ti4600 certainly proved to be more up to the task, slipping a nominal 5FPS compared to the previous test.


 

As far as TV/Video card manufacturers go, ATi has continued to push the envelope with the "All-In-Wonders" with ever increasing power and features.  The "All-In-Wonder" line of video cards has continued to be some of the most impressive graphics cards on the market and it doesn't look that is going to change any time soon.   From a TV/Video card standpoint, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 is one of the most powerful TV/Video cards available, with good gaming ability and advanced TV/Video features.  While nVidia has entered the game in recent months with their Personal Cinema product line, ATi has been making TV/Video products for yeas now and experience should give them the edge as things heat up.  It's no secret that the rivalry between the two graphics giants is as competitive as ever and we suspect that ATi will have its work cut out for them to stay on top of the TV/Video card heap.  One thing is for sure, from a consumer standpoint, competition is a good thing, and I'm sure we'll continue to see ground-breaking products from both companies. 

Although the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 didn't blow away the competition with its benchmark scores, it still proved to be a formidable opponent in most.  Overall, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 performed fairly well in most tests and proved capable of running some of the most graphically intensive games available.  However, we feel that the raw power of the 8500 GPU and RAM running at 275MHz. should have challenged the other reference cards a little better.  Instead, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 managed to stay a few steps behind the competition in the majority of tests, sometimes yielding to older, less powerful video cards.   Perhaps as ATi's drivers mature, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 will narrow the gap with its competitors and prove to be more of a performance leader. 

All told, ATi has continued to improve upon the "All-In-Wonder" line, evolving it into an ever impressive product with increasing power and cutting edge features.  With the release of the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500, ATi can now offer the gamer a TV/Video card solution that will give them good gaming performance and an amazing array TV and video features.  When you consider what is available from the competition, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 should keep ATi on top for a while in this niche'.  How long is anyone's guess.

We give ATi's All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of an 8.5.


 

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Tags:  ATI, Radeon, 8500, review, view, IE

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