Hercules 3D Prophet 8500 128MB Review

Hercules 3D Prophet 8500 128MB Review - Page 1

Hercules 3D Prophet 8500 128MB Review
RADEON 8500 and All the Trimmings

By -Chris Angelini
July 3rd, 2002

Competing in the video card market is much like swimming in school of sharks.  Each manufacturer has the potential to pack a potent punch, but the slightest sign of weakness can quickly incite a feeding frenzy.  We?ve seen it time and again.  S3 released the Savage 2000, which was inhibited by shoddy drivers and 3dfx?s promising Voodoo5 family succumbed to the GeForce2.  Hercules encountered a similar predicament back in 1999, only Hercules? problem was financial rather than technological.  Guillemot quickly purchased the struggling company and turned it into a multimedia powerhouse.   Even with Guillemot?s help however, Hercules has still encountered a few tense situations.

After adopting the Kyro II into its value-oriented lineup (and besting the GeForce2 MX in the process), Hercules had upset NVIDIA, and the damage to their relationship was beyond repair.  Hercules made the transition away from NVIDIA, and is now using ATI?s RADEON processors to fuel its high-end 3D Prophet family.  The 3D Prophet 8500 128MB utilizes ATI?s current flagship GPU, coupled with 128MB of DDR memory and ATI?s Rage Theater video in/out chip.

Specifications and Features of the 3D Prophet 8500
VGA, DVI, and TV-Out

  • 275MHz GPU
  • VGA, TV In/Out, DV
  • 256-bit Graphics Accelerator

DirectX 8.1 Support:

  • Truform
  • Smartshader
  • Charisma Engine II
  • Pixel Tapestry II

Smoothvision Anti-aliasing Engine:

  • Programmable multi-sampling
  • Also supports super-sampling

TV Out Jack:

  • On-board TV-out support both composite and S-video.

Cooling solution:

  • On-board active heat-sink cooling fan
  • Controller: RADEON 8500
  • Bus Type AGP
  • Memory 128MB DDR
  • Core Clock 275MHz
  • Memory Clock 550MHz DDR memory
  • Dual RAMDAC 400MHz
  • API Support Direct-X, Open GL ICD for Windows
  • Connectors VGA, DVI, TV In/Out

Features at a Glance:

  • AGP 4x compatible with fast writes
  • 256-bit 3D and 2D graphics accelerator
  • ATI Hydravision multi-monitor support
  • HyperZ II
  • Smoothvision Anti-aliasing
  • Video Immersion II
  • TV Out connector
  • DVI connector

Package Contains:

  • 3D Prophet 8500 video card
  • Driver CD
    (Contains Software Driver, ATI Multimedia Center & user's manual)
  • 3Deep
  • PowerDVD

The 3D Prophet 8500 is very similar to ATI?s own reference card.  However, there are distinct differences that indicate Hercules has made their own enhancements.  In terms of cooling, the card features a large heat sink and fan combination (in Hercules' signature blue color) along with RAM sinks covering the 16MB BGA modules.  A thin layer of thermal adhesive is applied between the heat sink and RADEON 8500 processor, to ensure proper heat transfer.  Whereas the RADEON 8500LE is set to operate at 250MHz, the 3D Prophet 8500 is set at a more aggressive 275MHz core frequency.  The memory is clocked synchronously, also at 275MHz.


Hercules opted for a sparse bundle, likely with the intention of keeping the price competitive with other RADEON 8500 boards on the market.  We can certainly appreciate that strategy.  However, it would have been nice if Hercules had included a full set of cables, like ATI.  It should also be noted that the version of PowerDVD included with the 3D Prophet 8500, only supports two-channel output.  So if you have a Dolby Digital system, you'll want to find another DVD application. 

Screen Shots, Overclocking, and Drivers 

Tags:  3D, 8500, hercules, review, view, pro, HET, IE

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