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Announcement: Radeon 9800 Pro Review!

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ATI delivered an uppercut to Nvidia with the Radeon 9700 Pro, it appears as though they're going for the knockout with the 9800 Pro :) Just announced, the 9800 Pro will be shipping *THIS MONTH* (128MB version) with a 256MB DDR2 version to follow in April. This card is all about high-end performance, so if you like eye candy, this card could be your very best friend :) Go here for the review: http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NDM5 I won't spoil the results of the review for you, but let's just say this is one fast video card ;) I wonder how fast the 256MB DDR2 version will be... Makes me somewhat glad I went with that cheap GF4 Ti 4200 128MB card instead of that shiny 9700 Pro afterall :)-Max Cowgill

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hehe, guess I'm the only one up at 3:00 AM (CST). That's what I get for working until after 1:00 AM though... Anyway, here's a bump for all you early risers/night owls (depending on how you look at it) and a middle-of-the-day bump for all you folks across the pond :)-Max Cowgill

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Hey Max.I'm up! Thank you so much for the link. I was waiting to find an online review, but you beat me to it!Sounds like ATI has gotten their stuff straight after all, and that the 9700 was not a freak child, but the beggining of a revolution at ATI. Good. nVidia needed some good competition.Can't wait for the prices on the 9700 to go down ;-).

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>Hey Max. >>I'm up! Thank you so much for the link. I was waiting to >find an online review, but you beat me to it! >>Sounds like ATI has gotten their stuff straight after all, >and that the 9700 was not a freak child, but the beggining >of a revolution at ATI. Good. nVidia needed some good >competition. >>Can't wait for the prices on the 9700 to go down ;-). No problem bro, and Amen to the price drop too! I've been wanting a video card that can actually handle AA&AF for flight sim and my GF4 (sadly) isn't that card. I really want the 9800 Pro but I doubt I'll actually blow 400-500 bucks on one... Maybe I'll get a 9700 Pro @ a more reasonable price, say maybe 200 bucks :)Here's a link to another Radeon 9800 Pro article that had a lot of good info in it as well, including a comparison of the 9800 Pro @ stock speeds (380MHz core/340MHz mem(680 effective DDR)) and @ 9700 Pro speeds (325/310(620)) vs. the 9700 Pro itself. http://www.beyond3d.com/reviews/ati/r350/-Max Cowgill

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Wow - Nvidia is finished if they don't come up with somethign that competes really soon. This card is more than 30FPS faster than the GFFX in quite a few of those tests and doing 1600X1200 with FSAA at 60FPS is just unheard of. I'm getting this card for my new system in May or June I think ;)

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At the same clock speeds the new R350 core is no less than 30% faster across the board with 4X AA and 8X Quality Aniso enabled, not too shabby at all. ATI's improvements in their compression algorithms and the memory controller clearly come in handy when AA and Anisotropic filtering are turned on, effectively making the Quality Anisotropic filtering mode a useable option with the Radeon 9800 Pro.With both 4x FSAA and 8x aniso enabled, the Radeon 9800 PRO gets to play both of its trump cards, easily beating the FX 5800 Ultra hands down. The performance increase over the 9700 PRO is also nothing short of impressive. Robb

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Hey Robb.Right on. Not to mention overclocking the GPU to 420MHz without locking up or even artifacts! And memory up to 380MHz, same thing! Now THAT is impressive on a 0.15 micron core with cooling that only takes one slot, instead of GeForce FX's "superduper" cooler, that steals the next slot to the AGP so it can fit.Oh, and by the way, the memory is only air cooled in the new 9800. Not even heatsink! Imagine what we will be able to do once the cooling mods come out?ATI has definetelly improved the architecture of their chips, as exemplified on the above overclocking speeds, and that only means one thing: They care.

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Look at the overclocking with no artifacts: The highest stable core overclock with no artifacts that I was able to reach is 440Mhz. The highest stable memory overclock with no artifacts that I was able to reach is 370Mhz (740Mhz DDR). At these speeds the HSF remained only warm to the touch, it didn

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Wow! I'm getting it. ;-) NVidia is going to be dead very soon.

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"NVidia is going to be dead very soon."In no way will NVidia "be dead very soon" - they've got cash up the wazoo (compared to, lets say, 3DFX when they were *really* going to be dead very soon). Not to mention some of the brightest minds in the industry. And OEM confidence throughout the industry - still. Really, you'd better hope they never get in such a bad position as to "be dead very soon": or you'll be paying $699 for that brand new top-o-the-line video card from ATI and $399 for the mid-range, both of which wouldn't be near as good as they could have been with fierce competition. Lets not forget what the industry looked like when 3DFX had it locked up for that short period (remember 3-card-combo Voodoo 2 SLI prices anyone?). That is, until NVidia came along.NVidia screwed up and bet the cycle on a process that wasn't ready. That is plain and clear. They missed an entire, full cycle and lost the lead in the industry. They are still a cycle behind - but closing the gap (their current cycle won't be their typical 6 month period - its looking like they're shooting for a 4 month one). Two or three more cycles and they'll be caught back up if ATI keeps to its new cycles.ATI rocks and rules right now. Thank heaven, because NVidia was in some serious need of real competition all these years while ATI was the one falling severely behind. ATI may now shorten their own cycles to try and keep NVidia from catching back up, but its highly unlikely they will fully succeed doing so. NVidia has proven time and again that they can be a leopard hard to match - exactly why they are who they are and have plenty of capitol in the bank. They are a different company today of course, much larger with more red tape and politics, but the underlying qualities of NVidia as a company are still quite sound. Can you imagine the card everyone would be drooling about right now if NVidia hadn't missed a cycle and was releasing the NV35 today? What would the 9800 have looked like if that was so?Again, I'll repeat. NVidia missed an entire, full cycle. ATI didn't and took full advantage. In no possible circumstance will NVidia "be dead very soon". ATI is the top of the roost right now and executing on all pistons - and NVidia is doing everything they can to re-compete as soon as possible.Which is great for us all.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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Hello,I just wanted to add some info. from Anandtech.com.I noticed that they used the benchmark of a heavy cpu dependant flightsim,Comanche 4, and in this case it was clear to them that in this type of benchmark,the 9800 gain isn't so significant(at least at 1024*768). http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=1794&p=9So it may be that the 9700pro could become the very best value overall.Paul

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Yes; there's no doubt that the 9700Pro is still a top card and a very good value. Just not number 1 anymore. Reports are showing they're priced around $269 right now. Look for those prices to drop even more when the 9800Pro becomes available which will be very soon. I noticed the anandtech review used the GFFX Ultra. They've been cancelled. I thought the www.hardocp.com review was very well done using the GFFX (non-ultra) which is the card that will be released retail. The extremetech review was obviously biased toward Nvidia (as usual).Guess my 9700 Pro makes me second class again. Oh well. BTW; where is that GFFX (non-ultra)? ;)

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I also can't stress enough that the card to go with is the 9700 Pro. It is the Best Bang for your buck! It will be more than enough horsepower and then some for FS9 when it's released.

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>Hello, >I just wanted to add some info. from Anandtech.com.I noticed >that they used the benchmark of a heavy cpu dependant >flightsim,Comanche 4, and in this case it was clear to them >that in this type of benchmark,the 9800 gain isn't so >significant(at least at 1024*768). >http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.html?i=1794&p=9 >So it may be that the 9700pro could become the very best >value overall. >Paul eh...... What graph were you looking at? First of all, you've got to understand that *ANY* performance gain solely attributable to the graphics card alone in a game like Commanche 4 (which is as CPU-bound as MSFS) is a *MAJOR* gain and speaks very highly of said graphics card. Take a look at the results again: Commanche 4 @ 1024x768x32 using AA&AFRadeon 9800 Pro (4X AA/8X Perf Aniso) 54.8 fps Radeon 9800 Pro (4X AA/8X Qual Aniso) 52.9 fps Radeon 9700 Pro (4X AA/8X Perf Aniso) 50.1 fpsGeForce FX 5800 Ultra (4X AA/8X Bal Aniso) 49.7 fpsRadeon 9700 Pro (4X AA/8X Qual Aniso) 40.8 fpsOnly a 2.1 fps loss by switching from performance to quality setting is AMAZING. Especially in comparison to the 9.3 fps the 9700 Pro loses when making the same switch. That's less than a 5% loss for the 9800 Pro vs. an almost 20% loss for the 9700 Pro! Hardly insignificant... And the 54.8 fps the 9800 Pro gets using performance setting vs. the 50.1 fps the 9700 Pro gets using the same setting isn't too shabby either. That's an almost 10% jump in fps in the *PERFORMANCE* setting, which is definitely more CPU-dependant than the Quality setting. It would've been interesting to compare the GFFX Ultra and the two 9xxx Radeons using high quality settings... From all the reviews I've seen the Ultra just TANKS whenever you do so. Another interesting thing I took from Anand's article were the overclocking performance results. A 10% increase in core clock and an 11% increase in memory clock (with no extra cooling) result in 10-12% performance gain across the board when using AA&AF! In the past, overclocking a graphics card did not result in linear performance increases, but it looks as though the 9800 Pro may change all that :) Who knows how fast this puppy could be with some extreme cooling? The best part is yet to come though! The 256MB DDR2 Radeon 9800 Pro will be out in another month or so and, if they use the same speed memory as Nvidia did (500MHz DDR2 = 1GHz effective) on a 256-bit memory bus that would result in 32GBps bandwidth!!! That's just insane! (The Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB version offers 21.76GBps bandwidth, btw) Of course, that's assuming they use the same speed memory as Nvidia did for the GFFX Ultra. I would hope ATI would do so though, as the 256MB DDR2 Radeon 9800 Pro is supposedly targeted at NV35 (until R400 comes out anyway), so I would expect them to use RAM at least as fast as NV30, if not NV35. Hehe, imagine 1.2GHz DDR2 ram on the DDR2 Radeon 9800 Pro. That would provide 38.4GBps memory bandwidth ::drool:: Can we say "hello 1600x1200x32 w/6xAA & 16x AF in virtually every game" lol! Even if they only use 400MHz (800MHz effective) DDR2 memory it will still provide 25.6GBps bandwidth. Definitely nothing to laugh at. These are raw memory bandwidth maximums btw, this doesn't even take into account ATI's Hyper-Z III+ compression technology which would raise the effective bandwidth by Lord knows how much... Probably somewhere in the 100+ GBps range :)Ok, I'm done having an orgasm over the R350 now ;)-Max Cowgill

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Good points, Elrond. I concur that Nvidia is nowhere near dead, but you've got to admit that the combination of the R300, the delay of NV30, and the impending launch of R350 (at almost the same time as the launch of NV30 no less) pack quite a punch and will definitely have not only psychological but physical repercussions for Nvidia. Nice link, btw. I saw a quote in there that I'd seen somewhere last night but for the life of me couldn't remember what the quote was or where I'd seen it. "Tiger Woods doesn't win every day. We don't deny that ATI has a wonderful product and it took the performance lead from us. But if they think they're going to hold onto it, they're smoking something hallucinogenic." -Jen-Hsun Huang, Ceo Nvidia Corporation. Man that cracks me up! The funny part is that he said that about a month before Radeon 9800 Pro was announced. I wonder if he'd make the same statement now... I'm sure he still has faith in the company he founded, but one's faith has to be shaken by a succession of events such as these, even if only temporarily. OTOH, I wouldn't be surprised if he comes out of this whole ordeal even more determined to show the world who's #1. (late 2002/)2003 will be a marquee year for pc technology, if you ask me. Quite a few innovative products coming out between last fall and Q4 this year...-Max Cowgill

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Hey Max,Indeed, I am just as happy as you that ATI has reasserted itself on the high end after all these years (and fixed their driver team - finally!). Not only is it good for prices, but its good for the state of the art as well.I've found it very ironic that drivers haven't been talked about much in most of todays 9800 reviews... That just proves how far ATI has come over the past six months! An ATI review without the obligatory, intense focus on drivers? Unheard of until today.NVidia is certainly getting a bloody nose the past couple months - and today - and will continue to for the next couple months. Thats a good thing in my book: any company that gets complacent in their leadership is bound to get it taken away at some point in time. I have no doubt that this whole experience has put some of that much needed fear back into the company that it seems to have lost over the past few years. Fear, unfortunately, is what makes a company so successful. Microsoft's dominance is, of course, *the* prime example.My only argument is with the silly notion that NVidia is about to go out of business for some bizarre reason. That couldn't be farther from the truth.And I fully agree. The next couple months will prove to be one of the most interesting periods in this industry.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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The ATi 9800 Pro card at 256MB in April? Well, I forsee a couple overtime shifts for the money and a trip to Best Buy in April.

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Yeah?My friggin Diamond Viper550 will blow the doors and toilet seat off of the 9800 pro! Nvidia friggin rocks!!!!Heh heh heh . . .16 huge megggs man!!!and its Vram!!!got it's own cooler too!!! ..Blue I think, errr yah, Blue! It can do colors! Lots of em!!!Hey, err Elrond, those ATI guys, R those guys Hosers?My friigin 486 is a DX!A DX2!Its got ram and memory too!!!Plus its got a CD-Rom!It can do DOS AND Windows!!!Its get the new version of DOS, and has the Vesa local bus, and its got....Hey! My friggin CPU unit is a tower! Its Expandable so I'll never need another one!Its not biege either, its a new color...light Grey!http://www.frontiernet.net/~pleatzaw/images/arge.gif !!!

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Now Paullie, did you miss taking your medication *again* today? Sheesh, man. I thought we had that covered already!?!Ya freak ... (la sheik ... FREAKOUT! <-- Now THATS oldschool, baby)@-@ (<-- my new name. Just call me the programmer formally named Elrond)---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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Note to self:Self, are folks here gonna really freak out when they discover split personalities talking to ourselves?Whatcha think Paulie, I mean Elrond?I mean Poster formerly known as Elrond?violet lazer 27gig DVD burners are nice, real ...nice. Hu hu huhhh Hu hu huhhh, (shut up beavis!)Matrox Rocks!I mean, Nvidia!Yeah!

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