ATi Radeon 9700 PRO - Pretender To The Throne


The fillrate tells us how fast the pixel pipelines can process simple textures. Here are the detailed 3DMark2001 SE results:

This value shows the performance when using only a single texture. The advantage of the Radeon's eight pixel pipelines becomes immediately apparent here. NVIDIA's GeForce4, on the other hand, only has four pixel pipes, and is therefore outclassed.

The multitexturing test (two textures per object, for example, when using light maps) shows that ATi's "eight pipe pixel engine" also has disadvantages, as each pipe can only process a single texture per clock cycle. The GeForce4's pipelines can process two textures each, and thus the performance of the two cards is almost identical. Unfortunately for ATi, most current games almost exclusively use multitexturing environments.

The fill rate category leaves us with a mixed conclusion. The advantage to having eight pixel pipelines is not as great as ATi's marketing machine would have us believe, especially in multitexturing environments. Then again, this comment is only valid with respect to fill rate. As the following pixel shader tests will show, eight pipelines can make a lot of sense.