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The Radeon 9700 PRO, Continued

ATi Radeon 9700 PRO - Pretender To The Throne
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  NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4600 ATI Radeon 8500 ATI Radeon 9000 PRO ATI Radeon 9700 PRO
Chip Technology 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit
Process 0.15 Micron 0.15 Micron 0.15 Micron 0.15 Micron
Transistors 63 Mio 60 Mio - -
Memory Bus 128 bit DDR 128 bit DDR 128 bit DDR 256 bit DDR
Memory Bandwidth 10.4 GB/s 8.8 GB/s 8.8 GB/s 19.8 GB/s
AGP Bus 1x/2x/4x 1x/2x/4x 1x/2x/4x/8x 1x/2x/4x/8x
Memory 128 MB 64/128 MB 64/128 MB 128/256 MB
GPU Clock 300 MHz 275 MHz 275 MHz 325 MHz
Memory Clock 325 MHz (650 DDR) MHz 275 (550 DDR) 275 MHz (550 DDR) 310 MHz (620 DDR)
Memory BGA 2.8ns SD/BGA 3.3ns SD BGA 2.x ns
Vertex Shader 2 2 2 4
Pixel Pipelines 4 4 4 8
Texture Units Per Pipe 2 2 1 1
Textures per Texture Unit 4 3 6 8
Vertex S. Version 1.1 1.1 1.1 2.0
Pixel S. Version 1.3 1.4 1.4 2.0
DirectX Generation 8.0 8.1 8.1 9.0
FSAA Modi MultiSampling SuperSampling SuperSampling MultiSampling
Memory Optmizations LMA II Hyper Z II Hyper Z II Hyper Z III
Display Outputs 2 2 2 2
Chip Internal Ramdacs 2 x 400 MHz 2 x 400 MHz 2 x 400 MHz 2 x 400 MHz
Chip External Ramdacs - - - -
Bits per Color Channel 8 8 8 10
Special - - TV Encoder On-Chip; FullStream TV Encoder On-Chip; FullStream
Estimated Price ~ $300-350 $179 $149 $399

Compared to its competitors, the heart of the Radeon 9700, the R300 chip, can boast some very impressive technical specifications. Weighing in at 100 to 110 million transistors (ATi's various white-papers contradict themselves in this respect) the chip sports roughly 40 million transistors more than the GeForce4 Ti. It also features four vertex shaders and eight pixel pipelines - twice as many as NVIDIA's flagship. At least the second part of that statement is only half true, however, since the R300's pixel pipelines can only process one texture per clock cycle, compared to the GeForce4's two.

In real-world terms, this means that the 9700 is roughly twice as fast as the GeForce4 in single-texturing scenarios. When confronted with the much more common multi-texturing, both chips should be roughly identical in speed - at least in theory.

In practice, neither card will be able to exploit the pixel units to their full potential, since they simply can't be fed enough data to be 100% efficient - the deciding factor here is memory bandwidth.

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