ATi Radeon 9700 PRO - Pretender To The Throne

The Radeon 9700 PRO

Compared to the GeForce Ti 4600, the Radeon has pleasingly compact dimensions.

The extensive power requirement makes it necessary to have an additional cooling unit on the backside of the card.

The new chip will be available in two versions. The faster one, which will be called "Radeon 9700 PRO," will be released first. A short while later, ATi will begin selling "normal" Radeon 9700, a version with slightly lower memory and core clock speeds. ATi seems to have learned its lesson from the confusing introduction of the Radeon 8500.

Buyers had great difficulties telling the various versions of the card apart, due to the fact that the naming convention was very misleading. It was almost impossible to tell whether you were getting the faster version or the slower OEM version (built-by-ATi vs. powered-by-ATi).

Many resellers contributed to this confusion with contradictory advertisements in their product and price guides. Now the fastest version can finally be easily identified by the "PRO" tagged onto the name. That doesn't mean that the normal version will be stripped down in any way - it will still encompass the full set of features. The GPU - or VPU, as ATi now prefers to call it - will simply be clocked at a slightly lower speed.

The real budget version will be introduced sometime in the fall and will carry the name Radeon 9500. To save costs, it will probably be stripped of some of the 9700's pixel pipelines and be clocked lower than the bigger cards.