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    Sapphire Radeon 9500 Atlantis Pro Review
    By Vince Freeman :  February 3, 2003


    When compiling a list of the "best bang for the buck" 3D video cards, there's no question the Radeon 9500 Pro deserves to be on the list. The sub-$200 market is a lucrative one, and ATI needed a value-oriented companion to the powerful (and expensive) Radeon 9700 Pro. This Radeon 9500 Pro "little brother" delivered in spades, and allows the adequate product segmentation necessary for ATI to compete against the popular GeForce4 Ti line, especially the GeForce4 Ti 4200.

    The Radeon 9500 Pro offers up an intriguing combination of Radeon 9700 Pro architecture, features and performance, while giving a little in return for a lower price. It represents an AGP 8X, DirectX 9 card for the masses, and allows ATI to market not only 3D video cards through the retail channel, but also supply their 3rd-party vendors with attractive 3D video chip options. Keeping their partners happy is a prime goal for any manufacturers, and giving them a premiere GeForce4 Ti-competitor was a huge step in the right direction.

    Sapphire is one of the very first ATI OEM partners, and has been producing ATI boards for some time. In fact, their production facilities have been the home to many other OEM models from different companies, making Sapphire one of the key 3rd-party ATI manufacturers. The Sapphire Radeon-based cards are a staple of the larger online retailers, and it's common to find them among the best-sellers as well. This makes the release of the Sapphire Radeon 9500 Atlantis Pro a real treat, as availability and quality will be high, and the card should come in at an attractive price.

    Radeon 9700 and 9500 Specifications

    The ATI Radeon 9700 and 9500 product selection is such that while all cards are DirectX 9 compatible, and the basic architecture is quite similar between models, there are very important differences to note. These 3D chips are all derivatives of the original Radeon 9700 Pro core, and 3D features and drivers are consistent, but clock speed, core design, and memory architecture change and differentiate the various models. Here's a chart outlining the basic specifications of the various Radeon 9700 and 9500-based cards:

    Card Pipelines Core Speed Memory Speed Memory Interface
    Radeon 9700 Pro 8 325 620 256-bit
    Radeon 9700 8 275 540 256-bit
    Radeon 9500 Pro 8 275 540 128-bit
    Radeon 9500 4 275 540 128-bit

    The Radeon 9700 Pro and 9700 are pretty easy to understand, with core and memory clock speeds being the only difference. The Radeon 9500 Pro is identical to the Radeon 9700 in most respects, except it uses a 128-bit memory interface. This means that while the Radeon 9500 Pro has the same processing power as the Radeon 9700, it only has half the memory bandwidth. The Radeon 9500 takes a different angle, and while it has the same core and memory speeds and features as the Radeon 9500 Pro, it is the only one to features 4 pixel pipelines rather than 8.

  • Page 1 Introduction
    Page 2 The Radeon 9500 Atlantis Pro Card
    Page 3 Performance and Test System
    Page 4 Quake 3, Serious Sam 2 & RtCW Performance
    Page 5 Jedi Knight II, Comanche 4 & UT 2003 Performance
    Page 6 Code Creatures and 3DMark 2001SE Pro Performance
    Page 7 Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering Performance
    Page 8 Value and Conclusion

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