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.
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.
Mainstream Pentium 4
9500 Pro (Drivers - Catalyst Version 2.4)
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4600 Reference Board (Drivers - Version
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4200 Reference Board (Drivers - Version
Hardware and Software:
Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz
D850EMVR i850E Motherboard
512MB PC1066 RDRAM
IBM 30GB ATA-100 7200RPM
On board sound
On board 10/100 Ethernet
WinXP Professional w/ SP1
Intel Chipset Drivers
Rigorous DX8 Testing
First up, we have some fairly
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
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.
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