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Old 26th March, 2002, 03:56 PM
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Radeon 8500: Retail, OEM, LE, Oh my!

I plan on upgrading my 32MB GeForce2 MX400. I was thinking of a GeForce4 Ti4600, but they're close to $400, and that's just a bit expensive. And I've heard that it doesn't perform that much. But looking around, I've heard the ATI Radeon 8500 is a solid card. I've never heard over much to impress me about ATI in general, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But I do have some concerns I would like to resolve before I jump in here. The first of which is the Retail versus OEM issue I've heard of. Which version has the better clock and memory timings? And if I were to walk into a store and grab an 8500 off the shelf, how could I tell which one I'm buying?

My other question is about the Radeon 8500 versus the 8500LE. CompUSA has them both for the same price, but the 8500LE has 128MB of RAM. What's the difference between the 8500 and the 8500LE?
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Old 26th March, 2002, 04:29 PM
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Get the retail Radeon 8500 now, online if possible, or for $200 from a local retailer like compusa or best buy.

The extra 64MB of ram will not increase performance in any games coming out in the near future (and by time that will be the case 128MB cards on today's market will be too slow for those games anyway).

A few months back, when prices were higher on the retail 8500, I'd have you buy the OEM 250/250 model (the LE is clocked at 230/230) and flash the OEM card with a retail bios. The OEM models cripple the clock speeds for RAM/core AND voltages for the memory. This will hinder overclocking with something like powerstrip to retail speeds. Flashing the bios to retail increases the memory voltage and allows the card to be clocked as a retail with all the same features (basically making it a retail) and it will typically overclock even higher.

Now that prices are so low, why bother getting less warranty and no box when for $20 more get full support and all the extras?
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Old 26th March, 2002, 05:08 PM
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THAT was exactly what I was looking for as to why to buy which one.

As for buying, though, how can I be sure that I'm getting retail and not the OEM version? Will the specific etailer make note of it?

Also, what are the timings on the Retail 8500? I found a site on Pricewatch that has the Retail at 250/250. Does that sound right?
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Old 26th March, 2002, 07:35 PM
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Got quite a few answers over at OC. Also found that Newegg has them for $165 shipped. But, I also found this on newegg, and I fear I can no longer feel my legs. Here's more info on it. By comparison, this shows the box for the 8500LE. Looks like the LE is not the only version with 128MB of DDR. I think I need to go dry hump my monitor for a bit. Excuse me.
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Old 26th March, 2002, 09:05 PM
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Question

The ATI built retail is 275/275.
The ATI built OEM is 250/250.
he Powered by OEM is 230/230.
The Hercules retail is 250/250 but has some reworking done on the pipes to make the card perform like the 275/275 ATI version. Power color makes thier retail at 250/250.
There are others that make the 275/275 models.
Some of the R8800 cards are 300/600 and some at 300/550. There are so many manfacturs of this card now. You have to do some reseach to see what is the best buy.. I prefer the Hercules line. They always have a better performing card, and less stability problems.
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