Sapphire Radeon 9700 Atlantis Pro

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Sapphire Technology Radeon 9700 Atlantis Pro
A newcomer brings The Radeon 9700 To Market

By -Dave Altavilla
October 14, 2002

 

Let's get this over with.  We're putting some Quake 3 benchmark scores up just for the few of you that would have actually emailed us to ask for them, if we didn't post any!

Quake 3 Arena Time Demo "Four"
It just won't die... at least until Doom 3
 

Hmm...  what's this?  We actually see the Radeon 9700 Pro based card holds a significant lead, regardless of whether or not AA is enabled.  This points more toward the overall fill rate of the Sapphire card versus the GeForce 4 Ti 4600.

 

And yet again, the proverbial "smoke show" is performed on the aging GeForce 4 card.  It's hard to believe that the card was officially released back in February and it's already showing its age.  If NVIDIA was able to hold up their relentless 6 month design cycles, we would be comparing a Radeon 9700 Pro to the NV30.  However, that seems almost as unrealistic as was NVIDIA's unbelievable run of flawless execution for release of next generation product.  It almost seems like something had to give.  ATi and OEMs like Sapphire Technology are now capitalizing on the situation, as expected.

 

The folks at Sapphire Tech have seemingly come from out of nowhere, to deliver a top grade Graphics Card to the masses.  However, those in the know (and now you) will quickly realize that the plant in which the Radeon 9700 Atlantis Pro was built, was one of ATi's many third party Contract Manufacturers.  Sort of a kin to the way Visiontek once entered the market, only we expect Sapphire will be around a bit longer.  Based on the Radeon 9700 Pro reference design we've come to know and love from ATi, the Sapphire Radeon 9700 Atlantis Pro delivers on all levels.

About the only real differentiator, that most graphics cards built on the same chipset can boast, would be cooling solutions and the occasional variation in output feature connectors.  From a performance perspective, likewise, since most cards built on the same chipset perform very similarly, headroom for overclocking tends to be what scores higher marks in our overall assessments as well.  In this regard, the Sapphire Radeon 9700 Atlantis Pro performed admirably, posting the highest stable core and memory clocks we've seen to date from a 9700 Pro.  One last area of note would be desktop image quality, where the R9700 Atlantis Pro stood tall versus our ATi reference card.  Perhaps its desktop IQ was not quite at the level of the Matrox Parhelia but that is near perfection and the Parhelia couldn't dream of gaming this well.  Finally, with a current street price of around $315 (various price search engines reporting), this Sapphire board is one of the more affordable flavors of ATi's flagship product.

We're giving the Sapphire Radeon 9700 Atlantis Pro a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of 8.5

 

 Come get some in the HotHardware PC Hardware Forum, now!

 

Tags:  Radeon, Sapphire, App, LAN, SAP, pro, AP

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