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ATi Radeon 9700 PRO - Pretender To The Throne

Test Setup

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
ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 2,53 GHz (133 MHz)
Memory2 x 256 MB, PC 333, CL2
MotherboardABIT BG7 (i845G)
Hardware CPU Scaling - Moderate Performance
ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 1,6 GHz (100 MHz)
Memory2 x 128 MB RDRAM
MotherboardASUS P4T (i850)
Hardware CPU Scaling - Low Performance
ProcessorIntel Pentium 3 800 MHz
Memory2 x 128 MB, PC 133, CL2
MotherboardASUS CUSL2 (i815E)
Drivers & Software
Graphics DriverNVIDIA - v30.82ATI - v6.13.10.6143
DirectX Version8.1
OSWindows XP Professional
Benchmarks & Settings
Giants RetailVersion v1.04
AquanoxRetail Version v1.17
Dungeon SiegeRetail Version v1.00
Comanche 4Benchmark Demo V 1.0.0.1.18
Quake III ArenaRetail Version 1.17Benchmark using 'Q3DEMO1'
Jedi Knight IIBenchmark using 'jk2ffa'
3D Mark 2001 SEPro Version, Build 330
Detail BenchmarksPowerVR Villagemark v1.17NVIDIA Chamelon MarkNVIDIA BenMarkMatrox SharkMark3D 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.