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Old 19th July, 2002, 06:01 PM
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Question King Of The Hill

NEW KING IS CROWNED

ATI’s Radeon 9700 (R300) – Crowning the New King of Video

Date: July 18th, 2002
Type: Video Cards
Manufacturer: ATI
Author: Anand Lal Shimpi


ATI’s Roadmap
There’s a new king in town, and it’s the Radeon 9700. There’s nothing NVIDIA could have done to prevent ATI from winning with the R300, there’s no driver they could ever release that would give the GeForce4 the power it needs to topple the Radeon 9700; no, with the Radeon 9700 it will take the NV30 and no less to outperform it.

Based on the current specs of NV30, believe it or not, it will be faster than the Radeon 9700. Since both ATI and NVIDIA must support DirectX 9, you can already guess at a lot of the specifications for NV30. It will obviously have support for Pixel and Vertex Shader 2.0; you can expect it to have 8 pipes and with ATI and Matrox both sporting a 256-bit DDR memory bus, you can also expect it to have one too. The one benefit NVIDIA will have with NV30 will be that it will be manufactured on a 0.13-micron process. Not only does that mean that NVIDIA’s chip will be smaller but it also means that they can run at higher clock speeds, which can give it the edge over the Radeon 9700.

ATI is well aware of this, and the one thing they have going for them is that NV30 won’t be out anytime soon. The 0.13-micron chip has been delayed a bit and the current word is that a November release can be expected, with boards shipping shortly thereafter. The folks over at ATI are banking on NV30 being a 2003 part, so that the Radeon 9700 can close out this year with a bang. If you want the absolute fastest graphics card available, the Radeon 9700 fits the bill better than any GeForce4 or Parhelia; and it will continue to do so for months to come.

The performance you’re paying for with the Radeon 9700 also buys you a card that will last you down the road. ATI has been running Doom3 on the Radeon 9700 for a while now, and Carmack has publicly thrown his support behind the card; keep in mind that it wasn’t too long ago that Carmack wouldn’t even touch the Radeon 8500 because of poor drivers. And for those of you that are wondering whether a 128MB card will be necessary, Doom3 will use at least 80MB of textures.

Our benchmarks from Unreal Tournament 2003 speak for themselves; the Radeon 9700 makes 1600x1200 a playable resolution and 4X AA something you can enable in any currently available game.

ATI has finally done it; they have finally got all of their moons in alignment and released a GPU that’s not only a leader in performance, but in technology as well and they’ve done it months before NVIDIA. Congratulations guys, you’ve done a tremendous job but now a much greater task lies ahead, how to respond to NV30?

Rumors of a 0.13-micron R300 before the end of the year are plentiful, but the likelihood of such an event happening is low. ATI will have a refresh of the R300, most definitely a 0.13-micron part but not between now and December. A 0.13-micron R300, potentially shipping with DDR-II would be a perfect match against NV35 due out next Spring. With ATI’s current lead in development time, we could even see an R300 refresh before NV35.

ATI will release a new product between now and the end of the year however, a couple new products to be exact. There’s the All-in-Wonder Radeon based on the R300, which will finally bring hardware MPEG-2 encoding to an All-in-Wonder card. And then there’s the Radeon 9500, to fill the gap in ATI’s product line. With the Radeon 8500 and 8500LE gone and the Radeon 9000 priced below $149, ATI has nothing to offer between $150 and $399. The Radeon 9500 will be a scaled down version of the Radeon 9700, priced somewhere in between $200 - $300. Our current theory is that the Radeon 9500 will be feature-identical to the Radeon 9700 but with only 4 rendering pipelines and lower clock speeds. ATI hasn’t said much publicly about the Radeon 9500 other than it will be out in Q4 of this year.

And looking towards next year, the RV250 won’t be able to hold it’s own against what NVIDIA has planned for the GeForce4 MX; but after seeing what ATI has been able to pull off with the R300 we can’t wait to see what else they’ve got up their sleeves.

When all is said and done, there’s a reason why ATI and NVIDIA are the two leaders in this market right now. Both companies have figured out the right way of doing things and are currently hard at work bringing the absolute fastest hardware to the market. These two are driving the industry and with the R300 ATI put to rest any speculation that had ever existed about their worthiness as a competitor.

ATI won’t go the route of 3dfx, they’re going the route of NVIDIA and today they just entered the passing lane
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Old 19th July, 2002, 06:39 PM
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Yeah, we all know... I hope the GeForce5 comes out soon! Or maybe the GeForce4Ti4800? That would be kewl And the supercharged version of the GeFroce4Ti should be out in 1-2 months, I think
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Old 19th July, 2002, 08:58 PM
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I dunno if putting a rocket-pack on a turtle is good for the turtle or its owner ... I think the GF4s are at the end of their reign... of course, we're still waiting for the games to use all these bells and whistles.. and I get as tired of pointing that out as we all are of waiting... but alas...
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Old 21st July, 2002, 02:45 PM
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Pinky::You are absolutely right.
We do not have any games that will utilize even half the features of our video cards at present.
I wish the game writers would write thier games as to detect the video card and enable all the features available to them upon installation. I am sure this would make the games more expensive, but well worth it.
Those of us that are fortunate enough to be abel to purchase the Radeon 9700, would be entitled to a different looking game than those that do not have the card, actually wheather it be nVidia or ATI.
These cards are at present feature rich, and most of the features avalible to these cards, are not enriched at all. Most of the average user is only looking at fps. The card that produces the highest fps will be the only thing most of us are looking for.
I have been running the Radeon 8500 since 1/2002. Now both the wife and myself have this card. We are extremely pleased with it. We have found no games that would not play, and play well with the 8500.
We do both tweak the cards and up the fsb as high as we can and still be rock solid.
Reading about the 9700, actually makes me have chills. I can't imagine any video card in a computer that will perform this well. All area's it is simply great. Drivers are not even fully written as yet, and it beats the GF4Ti4600 by 2 1/2 times the speed on screen.
It will play games at 1200x1600 FSAA x 4 and still beat the hi end nVidia cards at present.
Even with no FSAA turned on with the nVidia card.
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Old 21st July, 2002, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BobyJo

I wish the game writers would write thier games as to detect the video card and enable all the features available to them upon installation. I am sure this would make the games more expensive, but well worth it.
I think Jedi KNight Outcast did that for me, as well as Max Payne...

agree with the rest of your post
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 01:37 AM
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Yea, I have Max Payne, and it does match itself to the hardware you have and the capablilties of that hardware.
Most games are designed for the fps enthusiast only.
There are numerous benefits and features beyond the fps.
These are the features that will be brought out by game writers in the future.
Some of the newer games coming out will encorporate a lot of these features. Unreal 11, Doom 3, Quake 4, some of these will probably not even be able run at acceptable rates on the older and less feature rich vid cards.
I think nVidia has met it's match for quite a long while.
The NV30 will not be able to match the 9700.
Maybe the NV35 will be a close match maybe.
By that time ATI will have further advanced the technology beyond the 9700.
I would say that nVidia is gonna have to come up with a screen quality to match ATI's as well as the speed to be able to stay in the same ring as the one that ATI has designed.
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 03:31 AM
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Nvidia is doing just fine IMO (remember, I owned and loved my radeon vivo ) because the excess power we have right now is sickening, in 6 months this will be nearly doubled, but no game 6 months from now will need double the power we currently have. Nvidia can continue to make a cheap but sufficiently fast GPU and still stay around for the fireworks, ATI seems to be pushing too hard, eventually they will put themselves out of the market by overspending on research and development before half their stock even leaves the shelves.
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 01:46 PM
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I doubt if ATI is doing the same mistakes that other vid card makers have done. ATI has learned a lot from nVidia.
They learned the 6mo turnarround time is the std for them.
I believe ATI has developed a technology that will last longer than 6 mo.
You remember Hercules dropped nVidia primarily because the shelf life of the GF cards was only 120 days. The stock would still be on thier shelves when new technology was released. People mostly wanted the new tech stuff. So this left the old stuff, which was a good product, still on the shelves.
Venders had to either sell thier stocks at below cost, or at cost tring to empty the shelves of the older stuff.
With ATI the shelf life was a year or more, then the new drivers would still work with the older stuff. These drivers would actually increase the performance of the older stuff from ATI.
I don't know if drivers for the 9700's will work on the 8500's or not, cause they are not released as yet.
It would not surprise me if they will. The only specific thing would be the proper DX version had to be impliminted.
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 02:22 PM
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Okay, I dunno about hercules and shelf life. Sounds like someone made too many or something, but doesn't say much else

ATI is doing well. They are keepnig up and I see less and less complaining about the drivers.

The problem is, when you introduce something so powerful (like the GF3 was at time of release) that no game currently on the market needs it, then it's overkill. This Radeon 9700 card will rock, in 6 months when it might be needed... but by that time things will have already graduated to the next generation.

Look back to last year, I never NEEDED a GF3 or Radeon 8500 card. It wasn't until I played Jedi Knight that I even saw any benefits from having a video card with pixel shaders...
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 05:44 PM
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I agree, I made a statement a year or so ago, that I would never pay $3-400 for a video card. I still will not pay this for a video card.
I will have to wait till the prices go down on the product I want, then purchase it.
The 8500's we have will have to surfice for a couple of years at least.
They will do all we need to do, even thier capabilities have not been brought out to the fullest extent yet.
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 06:16 PM
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Thank god we finally agreed


volley, serve, volley, serve... lol
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 08:19 PM
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Did we ever really disagree?? LOL
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Old 22nd July, 2002, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BobyJo
Did we ever really disagree?? LOL
Well, we managed a couple volleys to get the agreement straight
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