ATi Radeon 9700 PRO - Pretender To The Throne

The Radeon 9700 PRO, Continued

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Header Cell - Column 0 NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4600ATI Radeon 8500ATI Radeon 9000 PROATI Radeon 9700 PRO
Chip Technology256 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit
Process0.15 Micron0.15 Micron0.15 Micron0.15 Micron
Transistors63 Mio60 Mio--
Memory Bus128 bit DDR128 bit DDR128 bit DDR256 bit DDR
Memory Bandwidth10.4 GB/s8.8 GB/s8.8 GB/s19.8 GB/s
AGP Bus1x/2x/4x1x/2x/4x1x/2x/4x/8x1x/2x/4x/8x
Memory128 MB64/128 MB64/128 MB128/256 MB
GPU Clock300 MHz275 MHz275 MHz325 MHz
Memory Clock325 MHz (650 DDR)MHz 275 (550 DDR)275 MHz (550 DDR)310 MHz (620 DDR)
MemoryBGA 2.8nsSD/BGA 3.3nsSDBGA 2.x ns
Vertex Shader2224
Pixel Pipelines4448
Texture Units Per Pipe2211
Textures per Texture Unit4368
Vertex S. Version1.
Pixel S. Version1.
DirectX Generation8.
FSAA ModiMultiSamplingSuperSamplingSuperSamplingMultiSampling
Memory OptmizationsLMA IIHyper Z IIHyper Z IIHyper Z III
Display Outputs2222
Chip Internal Ramdacs2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz
Chip External Ramdacs----
Bits per Color Channel88810
Special--TV Encoder On-Chip; FullStreamTV 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.