The Sapphire Ultimate Edition Atlantis 9800 Pro
&
The Sapphire Ultimate Edition Atlantis 9600 Pro
A Couple of Passively Cooled, Wild Looking Radeons!

By - Marco Chiappetta
July 25, 2003

     

     

     
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

Behold the Sapphire Ultimate Edition Atlantis Radeon 9800 Pro!  At first glance, this card looks nothing like any other Radeon 9800 Pro currently available.  The massive heatsinks with the heat-pipe, built by Zalman, are very menacing.  Underneath all that metal though, this card is basically a reference design Radeon 9800 Pro.  This particular model is equipped with 128MB of DDR RAM, but there is also a 256MB version on the way.  Unlike most other 128MB Radeon 9800 Pros, the memory modules on the Sapphire Ultimate Edition are equipped with heatsinks, which should help with overclocking, provided your case is properly ventilated.  If you don't keep the air moving around this card though, the RAM-sinks will basically be stuck in a mini-oven.  They will absorb the heat trapped between the PCB and main heatsinks, so keep that air moving!  Also notice the size of this card.  Ultimate Edition Radeon 9800 Pro owners will have to sacrifice their first PCI slot, and must also be sure there is ample room behind the card.  We didn't have any problems installing either of these cards into the MSI 875P Neo2 powering our test system, but some of you may not be as fortunate.  Make sure your CPU, RAM or Northbridge coolers won't get in the way of this bad-boy if your planning on picking one up.

Specifications & Features of the Atlantis Ultimate Edition 9800 Pro
What's Under the Hood?
 
RADEON 9800 Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
  • 380MHz Core Clock

MEMORY CONFIGURATION

  • 128MB of DDR SDRAM - 340MHz DDR (Effective 680MHz)

3D GRAPHICS FEATURES

  • Eight parallel rendering pipelines process up to 3.04 billion pixels per second
  • Four parallel geometry engines process up to 380 million transformed and lit polygons per second
  • High precision 10-bit per channel frame buffer support
  • 256-bit DDR memory interface
  • AGP 8X support

SMARTSHADER 2.1

  • Full support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 programmable pixel and vertex shaders in hardware
  • 2.0 Pixel Shaders support up to 16 textures per rendering pass
  • 2.0 Vertex Shaders support vertex programs with an unlimited number of instructions and flow control
  • 128-bit per pixel floating point color formats
  • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
  • Shadow volume rendering acceleration
  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL via extensions

SMOOTHVISION 2.1

  • State-of-the-art full-scene anti-aliasing
  • New technology processes up to 18.2 billion anti-aliased samples per second for unprecedented performance
  • Supports 2x, 4x, and 6x modes with programmable sample patterns
  • Advanced anisotropic filtering
  • Supports up to 16 bilinear samples (in performance mode) or trilinear samples (in quality mode) per pixel
  • 2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes
  • Adaptive algorithm with programmable sample patterns
  • 2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes
  • Adaptive algorithm with bilinear (performance) and trilinear (quality) options
  • Bandwidth-saving algorithm enables this feature with minimal performance cost

HYPER Z III+

  • Hierarchical Z-Buffer and Early Z Test reduce overdraw by detecting and discarding hidden pixels
  • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression and Fast Z-Buffer Clear reduce memory bandwidth consumption by over 50%
  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
  • 8.8 : 1 Compression Ratio
  • Optimized Z-Cache for enhanced performance of shadow volumes

TRUFORM II

  • 2nd generation N-patch higher order surface support
  • Discrete and continuous tessellation levels per polygon for dynamic LOD
  • DirectX 9.0 displacement mapping
 
VIDEOSHADER
  • Seamless integration of programmable pixel shaders with video data
  • High quality, hardware accelerated de-blocking of internet streaming video
  • Noise removal filter for captured video
  • Integrated MPEG-2 decode
  • Hardware accelerated iDCT, motion compensation, and color space conversion
  • Top quality DVD and all-format DTV/HDTV decode with low CPU overhead
  • Back-end scaler delivers top quality playback
  • Upscaling and downscaling with 4-tap horizontal and vertical filtering
  • Filtered display of images up to 1920 pixels wide
  • Unique per-pixel adaptive de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the bob and add-field (weave) techniques

FULLSTREAM video de-blocking technology

  • Noise removal filtering for captured video
  • MPEG-2 decoding with motion compensation, iDCT and color space conversion
  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
  • YPrPb component output
  • Adaptive de-interlacing and frame rate conversion
  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI and HDCP compliant)
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Optimized for Pentium 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon 3Dnow!
  • PC 2002 compliant

DISPLAY FEATURES

  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
  • HYDRAVISION software provides complete control over multi-display configurations with a user-friendly interface
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel palette DACs operating at up to 400MHz
  • Integrated 165MHz TMDS transmitter supports resolutions up to QXGA (2048x1536) and complies with DVI and HDCP specifications
  • Integrated TV-Out support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • YPrPb output for direct drive of HDTV monitors

DISPLAY SUPPORT

  • 15-pin VGA connector for analog CRT
  • S-video or composite connector for TV/VCR
  • DVI-I connector for digital CRT or flat panel
  • Independent resolutions and refresh rates for any two connected displays

GENERAL FEATURES

  • Comprehensive 2x, 4x, and 8x AGP support
  • High performance quad-channel DDR or DDR2 memory interface supports 64/128/256MB configurations
  • Fully compliant with PC 2002 requirements
  • Optimized for Pentium 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon 3Dnow! processor instructions
  • Supports optional THEATER 200 companion chip for NTSC/PAL/SECAM video capture
  • Highly optimized 128-bit 2D engine with support for new Windows XP GDI extensions

     

   

Sapphire included a very nice assortment of software and accessories with the Ultimate Edition Radeon 9800 Pro.  Bundled with the card itself, we found a very complete user's manual, a Molex power cable splitter, a DVI-to-DB15 adapter, an S-Video-to-RCA adapter, an S-Video cable and a composite video cable.  These accessories give users the ability to take full advantage of the dual-monitor and TV-Out capabilities of the Radeon 9800 Pro.  Sapphire also shipped some great software with this card.  Two great games, Soldier of Fortune II and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, shipped with the Ultimate Edition 9800 Pro, along with a full version of the excellent DVD playback software, Cyberlink's PowerDVD XP.  They also included a driver CD and another CD-ROM with a copy of Sapphire's proprietary Red-Line overclocking utility. (Update:  As of July 25, 2003, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness will be included with this card)

Now, The Radeon 9600 Pro