ATI RADEON 9500 Pro Performance Analysis
Seriously Powerful Mainstream Graphics

By: Dave Altavilla
November 27, 2002

 

We're going to dig right into the benchmarks but before we do, we thought it made sense to give you a another look at the Radeon 9500 Pro, versus it's big brother, the Radeon 9700 Pro.

The RADEON 9500 Pro
Portrait of a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 Killer

   

The Radeon 9500 Pro is the card on the bottom, in the left hand shot above.  As you can see, it does share a very similar PCB layout to the Radeon 9700 Pro.  However, there are also some obvious design changes.  All four of the front side memory chips are placed on the top section of the card and the external power source connector is located more in the middle of the card, when compared to the 9700 Pro.  Additionally, the DDR DRAM that is on the Radeon 9500 is 275MHz (540MHz DDR) Hynix product, versus the Samsung 350MHz (700MHz DDR) that is on the Radeon 9700 Pro.  Although the R9700 Pro runs at 620MHz DDR, significantly below its memory's max clock speed of 700MHz, the Radeon 9500 Pro utilizes every bit of the 540MHz DDR memory that is installed on its PCB.

HotHardware.com Test System
Mainstream Pentium 4 Performance

Radeon 9500 Pro (Drivers - Catalyst Version 2.4)
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4600 Reference Board (Drivers - Version 40.72 WHQL)
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4200 Reference Board (Drivers - Version 40.72 WHQL)

Common Hardware and Software:

Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz

Intel D850EMVR i850E Motherboard

512MB PC1066 RDRAM

IBM 30GB ATA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive

On board sound
On board 10/100 Ethernet

WinXP Professional w/ SP1

DirectX 8.1

Intel Chipset Drivers Version 4.04

Intel Application Accelerator


 

MadOnion 3DMark 2001SE
Rigorous DX8 Testing

 

First up, we have some fairly standard issue MadOnion 3DMark 2001SE testing, with its full exploitation of Direct X 8 Pixel and Vertex Shader effects.  Let's see how the field matches up.

 

 

 

Here we see the Radeon 9500 Pro coming in neck and neck with the GeForce 4 Ti 4200.  In fact, it beats out the mainstream NVIDIA offering by a small margin and then blows by even the high end Ti 4600, as fill rate demands increases with resolution at 1280X1024.  Further driver optimization may be in order here for ATi, since the 1024X768 score shows a lead to the GF4 Ti 4600 but the tables turn at high res.  This benchmark is based on the Max FX game engine, so if you are a Max Payne player, you can expect the frame rates to scale accordingly.  However, let's not forget that the Radeon 9500 Pro has full support of DX9 features and instructions.  The GeForce 4 Ti 4200, as mature as it is, does not. This positions the 9500 Pro as a significantly more "future-proof" solution.

 

Let's see what happens when we turn up the fill rate pain a bit and invoke Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering into the mix.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the AA and Anisotropic Filtering runs, we've enabled both 4X AA mode and 6X AA mode for the Radeons.  This is an additional level of image quality not available in the GeForce 4 line of products.  Images are sharper and better looking in 6X AA mode.  We've also enabled ATi's 16X Aniso Filtering setting for the Radeons and NVIDIA's 8X Aniso Filtering that is available on a GeForce 4 Ti.  We've given you head to head numbers with the same relative AA and Aniso settings, as well as a super HQ mode, if you will, for the Radeon 9500 Pro and 9700 Pro.  We should point out that the Radeon family does a "selective" method of Aniso Filtering, versus NVIDIA's full scene approach.  However, with similar settings, the image quality is very comparable.

Needless to say, even with a higher level of AA and Anisotropic Filtering, at 6X and 16X respectively, the Radeon 9500 Pro smokes past even the Ti 4600, never mind the "schooling" it gives to the Ti 4200.

Comanche 4 and Quake 3