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Test Setup

ATi Radeon 9700 PRO - Pretender To The Throne
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And so, let the battle begin! The platform of choice is a Pentium 4 2.53 GHz system from the upper performance segment,, since any user willing to spend $300 for a 3D card will more than likely also have a current system with a fast processor and a generous helping of RAM. For users with a less state-of-the-art system, we also conducted some tests on a slightly slower Pentium 4 1.6 GHz system and a PIII 800 machine to show the card would perform on their own system.

We picked NVIDIA's GeForce4 Ti4600 as the reference card for performance testing. Although Matrox's Parhelia can be found in the same price segment, it doesn't offer sufficient 3D performance to qualify as a contender to the performance crown. Read more in the article Attack Out Of The Blind Spot: Matrox Parhelia-512 .

Hardware Main Test System
Processor Intel Pentium 4 2,53 GHz (133 MHz)
Memory 2 x 256 MB, PC 333, CL2
Motherboard ABIT BG7 (i845G)
Hardware CPU Scaling - Moderate Performance
Processor Intel Pentium 4 1,6 GHz (100 MHz)
Memory 2 x 128 MB RDRAM
Motherboard ASUS P4T (i850)
Hardware CPU Scaling - Low Performance
Processor Intel Pentium 3 800 MHz
Memory 2 x 128 MB, PC 133, CL2
Motherboard ASUS CUSL2 (i815E)
Drivers & Software
Graphics Driver NVIDIA - v30.82
ATI - v6.13.10.6143
DirectX Version 8.1
OS Windows XP Professional
Benchmarks & Settings
Giants Retail Version v1.04
Aquanox Retail Version v1.17
Dungeon Siege Retail Version v1.00
Comanche 4 Benchmark Demo V 1.0.0.1.18
Quake III Arena Retail Version 1.17
Benchmark using 'Q3DEMO1'
Jedi Knight II Benchmark using 'jk2ffa'
3D Mark 2001 SE Pro Version, Build 330
Detail Benchmarks PowerVR Villagemark v1.17
NVIDIA Chamelon Mark
NVIDIA BenMark
Matrox SharkMark
3D Mark 2001 SE

The suite of tests can be divided into several types. First, we have the typical gaming benchmarks that test performance while a game is in progress. Next come the synthetic benchmarks that rate gaming performance (3DMark2001 SE), followed by theoretical benchmarks that focus on specific areas like triangle count and fill rate. Lastly, we test image quality by looking at anisotropic filtering and FSAA.

A word on overclocking - the current version of Powerstrip already offers overclocking options for the Radeon 9700 PRO. Since the test samples are all from a pre-production batch, we decided against overclocking tests, as these would not necessarily reflect the potential of the final production boards. Consequently, we will wait until we have samples of final shipping ATi cards (or those produced by ATi's partners) before testing their overclocking potential. The final cards to be shipped will be produced in China.

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