Sapphire Ultimate Edition Radeons!

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The Sapphire Ultimate Edition Radeons! - Page 3

The Sapphire Ultimate Edition Atlantis 9800 Pro
The Sapphire Ultimate Edition Atlantis 9600 Pro
A Couple of Passively Cooled, Wild Looking Radeons!

By - Marco Chiappetta
July 25, 2003


We tested the Sapphire "Ultimate Edition" Radeon 9800 & 9600 Pros on an i875P "Canterwood" based MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R motherboard, powered by a Pentium 4 3.0CGHz CPU (800MHz Bus).  The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and loaded "High Performance Defaults".  Then we set the memory to operate at 200MHz (in Dual DDR400 mode), with the CAS Latency and other memory timings set by SPD.  The AGP aperture size was then set to 256MB.  The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP1 was installed.  When the Windows installation was complete, we installed the Intel chipset drivers and then hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates, with the exception of the ones related to Windows Messenger.  Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and Windows Messenger was disabled and removed the system.  Then Auto-Updating and System Restore were disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created.  Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of the benchmarking software and ran the tests at our CPU's default clock speed.  All of the tests were run with ATi's drivers configured for maximum visual quality.  ATi's "Quality" Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering methods were employed throughout our testing.  For the "4X AA + Aniso" tests listed in our graphs, we enabled 4X AA and 8X Anisotropic filtering in ATi's driver panels.  Now it's time for the results...

HotHardware's Test Setup
Intel Inside!

Common Hardware:
Intel Pentium 4 Processor 3.0GHz / 800MHz System Bus
MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R
512MB (256MB x2) Corsair XMS3200C2
Seagate Barracuda V 7200 RPM SATA 120GB Hard Drive

Common Software:
Windows XP with SP1
DirectX 9.0a
Intel Chipset Software v5.00.1012
Intel Application Accelerator RAID Edition v3.0

Video Cards Tested:
Sapphire Atlantis Ultimate Edition Radeon 9800 Pro (128MB)
Sapphire Atlantis Ultimate Edition Radeon 9600 Pro (128MB)
Gigabyte GV-R98P128D Radeon 9800 Pro (128MB)
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (128MB)

Video Drivers Used:
ATI Catalyst Drivers v3.6 - WHQL Certified

Performance Comparisons With Gun Metal
DirectX 9 Gaming

We decided not to use any synthetic benchmarks in this review.  Every benchmark represented here was based on an actual game engine. We used the relatively new Gun Metal DirectX 9 benchmark, developed by Yeti Studios, in our first set of tests.  Vertex Shader 2.0 and Pixel Shader 1.1 operations are used in the creation of Gun Metal's game world. This test is very GPU limited, and because Yeti's intent was to stress all modern 3D accelerators, 2X Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering are enabled by default and cannot be disabled.


For the remainder of this review, we'll be comparing the performance of the Sapphire Ultimate Edition Radeon 9800 and 9600 Pros to a Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro and an ATi Radeon 9600 Pro.  With the first two benchmarks, we've also included some numbers from a 128MB GeForce FX 5900.  As you can see in the charts above, the passively cooled Sapphire cards performed at essentially the exact same levels as their ATi based competition.  The Sapphire Ultimate Edition Radeon 9800 Pro was a fraction of a frame per second slower than the Gigabyte card, but the Ultimate Edition Radeon 9600 Pro came in slightly ahead of the ATi built card.  The differences are so small that they fall well within the margin of error in this test, though.  The FX 5900, however, smoked all of the ATi based cards in this benchmark.

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