ATi Radeon 9800Pro Full Release Review

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ATi Radeon 9800Pro Full Release Review - Page 7

 

The ATi Radeon 9800 Pro Full Release Review
ATi Technologies Distances Itself From NVIDIA Once Again

By, Dave Altavilla
March 5, 2003

 

We'll finish up here with some Quake 3 Arena numbers and our overclocking experiments with the Radeon 9800 Pro.  What is still interesting about Quake 3 Arena testing, at high resolutions, is that it gives a good metric on overall fill rate of a given graphics card.  Drop in some AA and Aniso Filtering and watch the frame rates plummet, unless you are running the Radeon 9800 Pro.

Benchmarks / Comparison With The Radeon 9800 Pro
Quake 3 Arena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking out 105 frames per second at 1600X1200, with 4X AA and 8X Anisotropic Filtering enabled, is simply amazing.  The 9700 Pro is no slouch either here at 92+ frames per second.  You're looking a 14% performance gain roughly, with the Radeon 9800 Pro versus the 9700 Pro.  The GeForce 4 is of course, a generation or two behind the ATi cards here again.  No mysteries here really.

 

Overclocking The Radeon 9800 Pro
Plenty of headroom!

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...

 

 


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