ATI’s latest graphics accelerator tested
1 April 2005 | 0
Most graphics enthusiasts expected ATI’s Radeon 9800 Pro to easily outrun Nvidia’s recently launched GeForce FX 5800 Ultra, as well as ATI’s competitive Radeon 9700 Pro. But our benchmark tests indicate otherwise.
We benchmarked a pre-production board carrying the 380Mhz Radeon 9800 Pro graphics chip, 128Mbyte of 680Mhz DDR memory, and support for DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2 drivers.
In tests using the game Unreal Tournament, set at 1024 X 768 resolution with 32-bit colour, the 9800 card hit 174 frames per second — faster than a preproduction 5800 Ultra Board’s 168 frames per second, but slower than a production Radeon 9700 Pro card’s 176 frames per second. The 9800 Pro did perform best at 1280 X 1024 resolution, but trailed the 5800 Ultra at 1600 X 1200.
Similarly, in our Return to Castle Wolfenstein test, the Radeon 9800 Pro lagged at 1024 X 768, reaching 62 frames per second versus 66 frames per second for both competing boards. It hit 61 frames per second at 1600 X 1200; the others nailed 63 frames per second.
The 9800 Pro’s one clear edge was in anti-aliasing. For testing purposes, ATI recommends 4X anti-aliasing, while Nvidia suggests 2X to maintain higher frame rates. Deespite the 9800 Pro’s resulting lower frame rates, we preferred its image quality.
ATI’s preproduction drivers could be to blame for the 9800 Pro’s relatively weak scores; retail boards should perform better. If you want the best combination of price and performance on today’s games, seek out a 9700 Pro board.