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Radeon 9800 256 MB


The benchmark results of the new Radeon 9800 Pro with 256 MB are sobering when compared to those of the 128 MB variant. It's only in extreme situations (in the highest resolutions and high FSAA settings) that any difference could be seen. In these areas, however, the frame rates are at a low level, which is therefore not realistic and certainly not worth the extra $100. In addition, the card generates an extremely high amount of heat. This is a peculiarity of the DDR II memory, from which NVIDIA's NV30 (alias GeForce FX 5800 Ultra) also suffers. In any case, ATI now has a product in its program to rival the new NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, which is also equipped with 256 MB memory.

For those of you who absolutely must play your games in resolutions that are higher than 1600 x 1200 with 4x FSAA, the 256 MB card is sure to be welcome. Other users can take comfort in sparing themselves the extra $100 and be happy with their solid 128 MB version. Even upcoming games such as Doom III don't run better with 256 MB, as our benchmarks show, with the current status of the 3D engine (see the section on Doom III in our FX 5900 review ). It's improbable that more changes will be made, if not downright out of the question. If ATI's statement that the cards will be brought to market with the Samsung modules turns out to be true, then the 256 MB version could be worth considering for overclocking fans. However, it still remains to be seen if this will only be valid for cards from ATI, or if it will hold true for board partners such as Gigabyte, Tyan, Hercules and others.