Next up, we have
some tests with Croteam's Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.
We configured the game to use OpenGL and ran the "Little
Trouble" timedemo to test these cards. The keep the
playing field level, we used the "Extreme Quality" script,
created by the folks at Beyond3D, to max out the texture
quality and filtering levels on all of the cards.
Head-to-Head / Performance
With Serious Sam: TSE
Kill Some Aliens With Croteam's Shooter!
Similar to some
of our earlier tests, the Radeon 9600 Pro surpassed the
GeForce 4 Ti4600 at 1024x768 when AA was enabled in Serious
Sam, but at default settings and higher resolutions, it just
couldn't keep up with the rest of the pack. In fact,
at 1600x1200 with AA enabled, the 9500 Pro more than doubled
the 9600 Pro's performance.
Overclocking With The Radeon 9600 Pro
Nothing is Ever "Fast Enough"
OVERCLOCKING UPDATE: APRIL 18,
Editorial Update: April 16, 2003
- We did not have
much luck overclocking our particular Radeon 9600 Pro
sample. However, with the core built on a .13 micron
manufacturing process, and with memory clocked well below
specifications, we expect the Radeon 9600 Pro to be an
excellent overclocker. Unfortunately, when we raised
core clock speeds, even by a small amount, we immediately
had desktop corruption and 3D applications would lock up
within seconds. We think our overclocking results are
NOT typical, however. It has since been confirmed to
us that the current versions of Power Strip and other 3rd
party utilities, do not have the correct chip ID for the
9600 Pro and as such do not adjust clock speeds correctly.
In addition, ATi themselves actually told us, they are
seeing extremely high overclocks with most boards coming off
the line hitting close to 500MHz core frequency. If
this is in fact the case, we may be looking at very
impressive performance levels from a budget card, that could
even surpass the 9500Pro. We'll get back to
overclocking with the 9600 Pro, as soon as we have the
correct tools in house.
OVERCLOCKING UPDATE: APRIL 18,
We have mixed
feelings towards the Radeon 9600 Pro. On one hand,
this is a full-featured, DX9 class piece of hardware.
Image quality was top notch, the driver package is very
stable, it does not require additional power from your PSU
and the cooler was almost silent. On the other hand,
the card's performance wasn't exactly awe inspiring and the
naming convention will do nothing but confuse consumers.
Why call it the 9600 Pro, when the 9500 Pro handily beats it
in most instances? Branding it the 9400 Pro would have
been more appropriate in our opinion but then again, we're
not paid to be marketing geniuses either. The Radeon
9600 Pro's saving grace will have to be its price.
We're told that initial pricing will be at about the same
level as the 9500 Pro ($160-$199 street) but as production
ramps up, prices should drop considerably. At a
sub-$150 price point the Radeon 9600 Pro will be a very
attractive product, so let's hope prices drop quickly.
For now though, the Radeon 9500 Pro still has the best price
/ performance / feature ratio, in our opinion. We also
witnessed here however, a bit of driver immaturity, that
with future releases could change the prospects of this card
significantly in a positive direction, not to mention the
perceived overclocking headroom this card should posses,
once we get utilities in that can identify the new chip
properly . So what's the bottom line? The ATi
Radeon 9600 Pro is a darn good product. However, until
volumes ramp and pricing stabilizes, we're still scratching
our heads a bit, with respect to where it will fit in the
current market. It seems only time will tell...
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