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Strike Force: The new ATI Radeon 9800, 9600 and 9200 Series

Radeon 9600

That brings us to ATi's new mainstream product, the Radeon 9600, which will replace the 9500 series.

The Radeon 9600 VPU (alias RV350) is a fully DirectX 9 compliant chip and is based largely on the R300 core (more a mix between R300/R350), but with a few features omitted. Also, it is ATi's first chip to be produced on the same 0.13 micron process as the GeForceFX. As a result, it requires less current, can run at higher clock speeds, and produces less heat. The number of pixel pipelines has been reduced from eight to four, and the vertex shader units have also seen a cut, from four to only two. On paper, these cuts seem like a definite step backwards from both the Radeon 9500 and 9500 PRO. The RV350 does add the new "SmoothVision 2.1" and "SmartShader 2.0" enhancements, though, without "F-Buffer". The "Hyper-Z" optimizations, on the other hand, are still on the same level as that of the "old" R300, meaning 8:1 "Lossless Z" compression instead of the R350's 24:1 compression factor.

ATI Radeon 9500ATI Radeon 9500 PROATI Radeon 9600 PRO
Chip Technology256-bit256-bit256-bit
Process0.15 Micron0.15 Micron0.13 Micron
Transistors-unknown~107 Mio-unknown
Memory Bus128-bit DDR128-bit DDR128-bit DDR/2
Memory Bandwidth8.8 GB/s8.8 GB/s9.6 GB/s
Pixel Fillrate1.1 Gigapixel/s2.2 Gigapixel/s1.6 Gigapixel/s
Anti Aliased Fillrate- unknown13.2 Billion AA Samples/s- unknown
AGP Bus1x/2x/4x/8x1x/2x/4x/8x1x/2x/4x/8x
Memory64 MB128 MB128 MB
GPU Clock275 MHz275 MHz400 MHz
Memory Clock270 MHz (540 DDR)275 MHz (550 DDR)300 MHz (600 DDR)
Memory-unknownBGA 3.6 ns-unknown
Vertex Shader444
Pixel Pipelines484
Texture Units Per Pipe111
Textures per Texture Unit161616
Vertex S. Version222
Pixel S. Version222
DirectX Generation999
FSAA ModiMultiSamplingMultiSamplingMultiSampling
Memory OptmizationsHyper Z IIIHyper Z IIIHyper Z III
OptmizationsSmartShader 2.0SmoothVision 2.0SmartShader 2.0SmoothVision 2.0SmartShader 2.0SmoothVision 2.1
Display Outputs222
Chip Internal Ramdacs2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz
Chip External Ramdacs---
Bits per Color Channel101010
SpecialTV Encoder On-Chip; FullStreamAdaptive FilteringTV Encoder On-Chip; FullStreamAdaptive FilteringTV Encoder On-Chip; FullStreamAdaptive Filtering
Estimated Price$179 (old price)$199 (old price)$169-$199

While we already have a review sample of the Radeon 9800 PRO, we won't be able to take a look at the 9600, since it won't be launched until later this month.

9600 Card Versions

  • Radeon 9600 PRO 128 MB DDR (400/600) - available April 2003 - price: $169-$199,-
  • Radeon 9600 64/128 MB DDR (325/400) - available April 2003 - price: $149-$169,-

And the features of the Radeon 9600 VPU (RV350) in summary:

  • DirectX 9
  • 4 pixel pipelines (4x1 design)
  • 2 vertex shader units
  • 0.13 micron manufacturing process
  • 128-bit DDR Memory (DDR-II ready)
  • Up to 128 MB Memory
  • SmartShader 2.0
  • SmoothVision 2.1 (optimized FSAA, AA & memory controller, 6:1 color compression)
  • HyperZ III (8:1 Z-compression)