You bet we overclocked ATi'
s new baby. We had so much fun with this card
initially, that we were hesitant to push it too hard.
However, not only does the Radeon 9800 Pro perform better
than any 3D Graphics Card we've had in the lab to date, it's
got the guard-band muscle behind its clock speeds, to put up
with a lot more abuse.
We achieved this speed on
a open air bench environment, without pixel popping or
artifacts of any kind. Perhaps in a closed chassis we
may not have had the same results but then again, this was
all done with stock cooling. A few strategically
placed memory sinks and a larger VPU sink and higher levels
may have been attained. Also, ATi assured us that this
board was not hand picked for "overclockability" but rather
is very representative of something you the end user could
pick up with a retail product.
There's another nice 14%
jump in performance versus the stock 380/760 engine and
memory clock speeds. We'll take it, thanks very much.
But what happens when
you downclock the Radeon 9800 Pro to 9700 Pro speeds?
As you can see here, the
Radeon 9800 Pro is ever so slightly faster than the R9700
Pro, even when it is clocked down to the speeds of the 9700
Pro's engine and memory clocks. This can be attributed
perhaps to better Smoothvision 2.1 performance.
However, remember we had to use a different driver version
for the 9800 Pro. So really, these scores could very
well be within a certain margin of error for the test setup.
So, what's not to like
about the Radeon 9800 Pro from ATi? Nothing... As a
matter of fact, even though the price tag is set to $399
MSRP, at the time of its launch today, there are many
enthusiasts that can and will justify the expense of this
card, in return for the performance levels and visual
quality it offers. $399 is sort of the default price
point it seems these days, for the high end enthusiasts
boards. You can bet however, that prices will fall
eventually, as they have for the Radeon 9700 Pro. The
Radeon 9800 Pro is a another great performing product from
ATi. Everything is better about it, from its higher
clock speeds to its better efficiency with AA and more
flexibility with next generation HLSL support with DX9 and
OpenGL 2.0. You can't argue with a solid 15 - 20%
speed increase across the board, when AA and and Ansio
Filtering is enabled. The 9800 Pro is the fastest card
out in the retail channel right now and until NVIDIA can
ready a real response, it will be for some time to come.
So the choice is once
again up to you the end user, as it always is ultimately.
You can wait until sometime in May perhaps, for the NV35
from NVIDIA or you can have killer performance now with the
Radeon 9800 Pro. Since the NV30 is looking more and
more like a "still born" product, we don't think there is
any real benefit to waiting for NVIDIA to catch up again.
However, we're certainly not suggesting you count NVIDIA out
in this race. They'll be back with a vengeance we are
sure and sooner than later. For now however, it's
advantage ATi once again and the Radeon 9800 Pro looks like
it will make many a Hard Core Gamer VERY happy. It's
performance, in our opinion, is awe inspiring.
We're giving the Radeon
9800 Pro a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of...