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Update: ATi's Industry Shaking Radeon revisited

Performance Summary

There isn't much to add onto our previous articles' analysis aside from three things I noted. The first was that there are many playable 32-bit resolutions at 1024+ that users can take advantage of when running a Radeon. Our initial testing had only shown that the Radeon dominated 32-bit high resolution testing but at that high of a setting, the frame rate was still rather low. With our added results you can see that the resolutions 1152x864x32 and 1280x1024x32 are more playable.

The Radeon doesn't have the greatest performance in 16-bit color but by no means is it a slow performer. People have been hammering at this and I find it ridiculous that a 90 FPS result is considered "poor" and not labeled as "not as good as" when compared to the GeForce2 results. I agree that the GeForce2 dominated the 16-bit area but that advantage only makes for good benchmark victories and not better game play. Besides, most people who want to play at higher resolutions are also playing in 32-bit color, following the simple principle of 'either all or nothing'.

ATi's Radeon is without a doubt a good solution and is probably the card of choice to purchase for a new high-end gaming card, however, not enough to justify replacing a GeForce2 solution unless the owner is really into using FSAA or needs some of the fancier video options the Radeon can provide. The performance gains aren't drastic enough for me to advise someone to swap out with their GeForce2 board. Caution should be taken here as money could be wasted making a hasty decision.

Overclocking

After hours experimenting with a beta version of Powerstrip and our sample Radeon board, we had come to the conclusion that the core and memory speeds were locked in some strange way. Although we could alter the settings in our utility, Powerstrip, the setting would either return to the core speed to the memory setting or not change but perform as if it had. This was discovered after finding some very disturbing results where the overclocked hardware performance showed no gains. After speaking further with ATi, it indeed turns out that this is true and that the core and memory clock are currently synchronized. Upcoming drivers may change this but for the time being, we are limited to this.

The most stable setting found for my early Radeon board was 200 MHz graphics core and 200 MHz memory speed. Anything above this caused severe visual issues. Extra steps were taken to cool the graphics chip down but it was maintaining a steady 45 C temperature during overclocked testing. 45 C was the observed temperature of the stock clocked part under heavy loads. Without being able to have separate core and memory speeds, I was unable to determine for sure which of the two was holding us back from our 200 MHz barrier.

Since we had added the nearly 10% overclocked Radeon, I figured we'd add our results from a slightly overclocked GeForce2 64 MB board. This should give the Radeon a bit more of a challenge. Let's have a look at our results.