ATI Radeon Experience

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The ATI Radeon Experience
ATI's new 3D Graphics powerhouse may just be the new King of The Hill

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
7/17/00

And the beat or "beating" as the case may be, went on...

 

ATI's Test System
Standard fair...

Pentium III 866MHz., Asus CUBX Motherboard (BX chipset, BIOS 1005), 128MB PC-133 2-2-2 RAM, SoundBlaster PCI 128, WD 10GB HD and 3Com NIC

 

Benchmarks with the Radeon
Oh yeah, we dig this...

Quake 3 Arena Tests

Now for the Grand Daddy of all OpenGL testing, Quake 3.  First we ran DEMO001 with Quake 3 set like the hardcore "LAN Party Guys" like it?

Anytime you see over 100fps at 1024X768 in Quake 3, you should be impressed. 

Next we ran DEMO001 with 16 bit color, but using 32 bit textures for better image quality while still maintaining high frame rates.

Again, impressive numbers especially at high resolutions.

Quake 3?s ?FAST? setting also yielded good results.  All items under Game Options were turned off for this test.

Next we used Quake 3?s ?Normal? setting, again with all items under Game Options turned off.

We threw in some FSAA scores for good measure.  When we asked what procedure the Radeon uses to perform FSAA, ATI responded with, ?We do it just like nVidia?, so no jittered sub-samples like the Voodoo5.  This method produces decent results, but I?ve been spoiled by 3dfx?s technique.   We would have liked to include screenshots to show you exactly what ATI?s FSAA implementation looks like, but were unable to capture any quality shots using both Q3?s capture method and Hypersnap.  For now, here?s a supplied shot?we?ll follow up with our own soon.

Let?s really start to stress the Radeon now?this first High Quality test has the items under Game Options turned off.

The more tests we ran, the more we could tell these initial drivers are optimized for higher resolutions. 

The next set of High Quality tests were run with all items turned ON under Game Options except for simple items.  Texture quality and Geometry were at maximum.

There are some FSAA numbers thrown in here also, but in my opinion, nothing was playable above 800X600.  You can again compare notes to the GeForce2 and Voodoo5 here.

 

Now for the ultimate Quake 3 testing.  NVidia released a custom Quake 3 level recently to showcase the power of the GF2, let?s see how the Radeon handles NV15DEMO.

The Radeon?s Hyper-Z memory compression technique and overdraw reduction helps out in this test.  According to ATI the Radeon outperforms the Geforce 2 with nVidia?s own test!  We?ll let you now for sure when we run our own side-by-side tests.

Although 3D Mark 2000 gave us some fits, stability with the Radeon was generally excellent.  Through out OpenGL testing we didn?t encounter any major problems.  Keep in mind all testing was done on a HIGHLY overclocked AGP slot.  We did however find one driver problem when running Quake 3 in 16 bit color.


Click the image to see the entire screenshot ( this is the lower right corner only)

Notice the vertical lines.  We were told there would be a fix available to download before the first retail card is sold.

 

Should you be impressed with the Radeon?  Yes, we think so.  The combination of high performance with the most complete feature set seen to date should satisfy even the most power hungry gamers out there.  We?ll know more when we complete our next set of in-house tests but if ATI can deliver mature drivers, they?ve got a winner on their hands.  That is a BIG ?IF? however.  The last 2 ATI cards we reviewed (the Xpert 2000 and All-In-Wonder 128 Pro) both had driver ?issues?.  We even went through 3 different sets of drivers with the All-In-Wonder before we could complete the review.  When we confronted ATI with their history of driver problems, they acknowledged a problem existed and that ?it?s being addressed?.  We sure hope so? Having a third competitor for the 3D Crown can only do us good.

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Tags:  ATI, Radeon, XP, ATI Radeon, IE

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