VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128MB AGP

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VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128MB AGP
Back from the Dead with a Whole New Attitude

By - Jeff Bouton
July 1, 2003

More Head-to-Head Performance with Serious Sam: TSE
Lots of Guns, Action and Explosions!

We continued our OpenGL benchmarking with Croteam's Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.  Serious Sam is a more current OpenGL based program that does a decent job of stressing the mightiest of video cards, especially at higher resolutions.  To ensure that both cards were on a level playing field, we utilized the "High Quality" script developed by the folks at Beyond3D.

With Serious Sam we found the scores between the two cards to be more balanced.  At 1024x768 the scores were very close with the GeForce FX card taking a minor lead with NO AA.  Each card turned out virtually identical scores at 1600x1200.  Once we enabled 4X Antialiasing, the VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro took a small lead at all resolutions.  When it comes to enhanced visuals, the Radeon 9800 Pro based card is clearly superior to the FX 5800 Ultra.

Overclocking With The VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128
We Just Couldn't Leave Well Enough Alone!

Overclocking is a standard practice around here, in an effort to satisfy those who are not happy running their hardware at their default settings.  With the VisionTek Xtasy 9800 Pro 128, we had decent luck going from a default core speed of 380MHz to 430MHz, a gain equaling 13%.  The memory on the other hand jumped from a default 340MHz (680MHz DDR) to 365MHz.(730MHz.), resulting in a 7.3% increase.  When we put these overclocked speeds to the test, we managed to push the Unreal Tournament 2003 1600x1200 score up from 99.23 to an even 110FPS, resulting in a nice 10% boost.  With some added cooling and RAM sinks, this card could go even higher, but in its current configuration, anything higher than 430/365 resulted in serious artifacts.


The VisionTek XTasy 9800 Pro 128MB proved to be the solid performer that we expected.  Compared to the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra, the 9800 Pro was in command, especially when we enabled various strengths of Anisotropic Filtering and Antialiasing.  When you factor in that the FX card we used had DDR2, this says a lot for the XTasy 9800 Pro 128MB.  We also liked the simplicity of the card too.  Surely nVidia is able to develop a card that can compete, but their models require elaborate cooling solutions that often require the use of 2 PCI slots and generate enormous amounts of heat.  nVidia's latest 5900 Ultra card also shares this design but does drop in, with performance slightly ahead of a Radeon 9800 Pro, in most situations.  The Radeon line is more of a finesse card, capable of the higher performance with a more elegant design.

While performance and quality is the most important consideration for a video card, it is not the only one.  VisionTek pulled off one of the trickiest marketing strategies we've ever seen.  They were able to come up with a great looking design for the XTasy 9800 Pro 128 box, with a modern looking clear plastic design and backed it by some of the funniest "language" we've ever seen on a package.  We think that they may be a bit misguided on how to reach the target audience for this product, but they are not lost on delivering a video card with the power to run anything you can throw at it.

From a pricing perspective, we've seen the VisionTek XTasy 9800 Pro 128 card selling for anywhere from $375-359, while we've seen the ATi version available for as low as $345.  It seems that the VisionTek version is not as widely available as other 9800 Pros, making it difficult to compete price wise.  We also did a search for GeForce FX 5800 Ultras and saw the prices dip as low as $315 for some while others sold for well over $400.  GeForce FX 5900 (non_Ultra versions start at $390 and go up from there.   In our opinion, the Radeon 9800 128 is the best all around solution for the money.  The card will run faster with Antialiasing and Anistropic Filtering enabled.  It will run cooler and quieter since it only requires stock cooling, and it occupies only one slot in your case.  While some of you may be a bit disappointed at the lack of bonus materials in the package, you should be quite happy with the quality and performance of this product and we feel its image quality simply looks better in general, compared to nVidia GeForce FX based models.

Overall we were impressed with the quality and performance of the VisionTek XTasy 9800 Pro 128 and give it a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of an 8.5.



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