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GeForce3 Under Attack: ATi's Radeon 8500 Previewed

Benchmark Results

3D Mark 2001

For this special occasion I decided to start with the results of 3DMark2001, because those numbers are pretty explanatory for the behavior of the cards in the game benchmarks further down.

At 1024x768x32 Radeon 8500 is just about able to beat GeForce3, while the NVIDIA-card has a slight edge over Radeon 8500 at 1600x1200x32. This looked a lot different with the old NVIDIA drivers. GeForce3 with driver rev. 1241 is some 800 points behind the new ATi flagship, but that's yesterdays news.

Radeon 7500 is easily outperforming GeForce2 Pro in 3DMark2001, which I consider rather remarkable.

This sub-benchmark of 3DMark2001 is symptomatic for the results you will see in the games. At 16-bit color Radeon 8500 is reasonably close to its theoretical fill rate maximum of 1000 Mpixles/s and untouchable for GeForce3. However, while GeForce3 remains rock-steady with its pixel fill rate even at 32-bit color thanks to Detonator 4, Radeon 8500 is dropping, although it has the higher memory bandwidth. At 1600x1200x32 GeForce3 has an even higher fill rate than Radeon 8500, although the ATi chip has a higher core clock as well as about 10% more memory bandwidth. ATi will have to do something about this situation. The drivers are still early and there should be a lot of room for improvement, but it cannot be that the NVIDIA card beats Radeon 8500 in this discipline.

Things are a lot more pleasant for Radeon 7500. It is much closer to its theoretical fill rate maximum that GeForce2 Pro. GeForce2 Pro may beat the new ATi chip, but not very impressively. The results wouldn't let you guess that the theoretical fill rate maximum of GeForce2 Pro is some hefty 50% higher than that of Radeon 7500.