|RADEON 9800 Pro review|
Its been a great six months for ATI, since the release of the 9700 Pro they have dominated the high end mainstream market, superseeding Nvidia's 4600 by a long shot. The combined value for money and the outright performance, specifically with FSAA and aniso enabled, shot it to the number one position with all die hard gamers the world over. Its no surprise that ATI recently released news that they shipped their millionth Direct X 9 class graphics card. As we all know Nvidia's FX really did fail to hit the big time, with suprisingly average performance for such a long delayed product, the shock was only reinforced by the horrendous noise problems.
So what have ATI got in store for us gamers with the new top of the line 9800 pro, the much awaited R350 core? Is this set to be the nail in FX's coffin or is it just basically an overclocked 9700 pro? In this review I will not only be detailing the performance of this new card but I will also be giving my opinion as to whether its a worthwhile upgrade for all of you who currently have the good fortune to own a 9700 based card. I would also have liked to test it against the FX product that I had for a few days, but unfortunately I had to return this card long before ATI sent me this 9800 pro.
Product Overview and feature list
As you can see from the images there is not a vast difference in the card sizing, the 9800 pro being just slighty longer, so it shouldnt prove to be a problem for most systems when fitting. Core and memory speeds on the new card are 380/680 respectively.
Alot of the text in this section will
already be known to the more experienced users but I feel its worth
recapping over the various technologies for those coming into this article
without any prior knowledge, if you know it already or get a sore head
from reading it, then skip to page 2.
SMARTSHADER™ sets a new standard for visual realism with its 128 bit floating point colour precision, enabling hyper-realistc imagery to be displayed with billions of colour variations and allows users to experiance complex, movie quality effects in next generation games and applications.
SMOOTHVISION™ 2.1 technology enhances image quality by removing jagged edges and bringing out fine texture detail, without compromising performance. This 2nd generation technology provides new levels of image quality with advanced full-scene anti-aliasing (FSAA) and anisotropic filtering.
VIDEOSHADER™ RADEON 9800 PRO VPU continues to provide industry leading video playback with VIDEOSHADER technology: a seamless integration of pixel shaders with video. the RADEON 9800 PRO VPU also offers FULLSTREAM™ video de-blocking technology that removes blocky artifacts (noise removal filtering) for captured video and provides sharper image quality.
FSAA and Aniso:
The Radeon 9800 like its older brother has 2x/6x/8x full scene anti-alaising
modes and a maximum 16x aniso setting. To go into a little more detail
on these: Firstly AA: This is a sampling technique that creates more detailed
and realistic looking images, by removing the stair stepping effect seen
on the edges of objects within computer generated images. High quality
anti-aliased graphics are achieved with sub-pixel edge detection and colour
compression for greatly improved performance.
HYPER Z III+
HYPER Z III+ takes this
technology a step further with an enhanced Z-cache that is more flexible
and better optimised to work with stencil buffer data. The stencil buffer
co-exists with the Z-buffer and behaves similarly, in that an application
can set a pixel#s stencil value and compare it against the value stored
i nthe stencil buffer to determine if the pixel gets rendered or not.
The main difference is that the Z-values in the Z-buffer represent the
"depth" of a pixel, while the values in the stencil buffer can
represent anything the programmer wants them to.