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ATI RADEON 9250 Shootout
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Tuesday, 28th September, 2004


Introduction

As of late, we have been reviewing quite a variety of mid and high-end graphics cards. So when ATI supplemented their entry-level segment with a new Visual Processing Unit (VPU) skew, we took that opportunity to cover this end of the segment. Don't forget, graphics cards aren't just all about playing the latest game titles and it is especially so in the entry level sector where many of these graphics cards were catered to general office productivity, presentations, video acceleration (to offload the CPU during playback of video files) and of course some of these even accommodate recreational gamers for that occasional "when the boss is not around" break. The RADEON 9250 VPU is the newest member of ATI's entry-level offerings and it is well suited for all of these above-mentioned tasks.

So what's new in the RADEON 9250? Some people initially assumed that the RADEON 9250 is a DirectX 9 compliant VPU of the existing RADEON 9200 but that is actually the furthest from the truth. Sadly, there aren't any new features or for that matter, improvement in clock speeds either. Take a look at this table we've drafted of VPU models similar to the RADEON 9250 :-

VPU Core Comparison
GPU/VPU ATI RADEON 9250 ATI RADEON 9200 ATI RADEON 9200 SE ATI RADEON 9000
Core Code RV280LX RV280 RV280 RV250
Manufacturing Process (microns) 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15
Core Clock 240MHz 250MHz 200MHz 250MHz
Rendering (Pixel) Pipelines 4 4 4 4
Pixel Fill Rate (MPixels/s) 960 1,000 800 1,000
Texture Units per Pipeline 1 1 1 1
Peak Texture Fill Rate (Mtexels/s) 960 1,000 800 1,000
Memory Clock 200MHz
(400MHz DDR)
200MHz
(400MHz DDR)
166MHz
(333MHz DDR)
200MHz
(400MHz DDR)
DDR Memory Bus 128-bit or 64-bit 128-bit 64-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 6.4GB/s or 3.2GB/s 6.4GB/s 2.66GB/s 6.4GB/s
ATI SMARTSHADER 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
ATI SMOOTHVISION 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
ATI HYPER Z II II II II
ATI TRUEFORM 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Pixel Shader Support 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4
Vertex Shader Support 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
DirectX Support Up to DirectX 8.1 Up to DirectX 8.1 Up to DirectX 8.1 Up to DirectX 8.1
FSAA Mode Super Sampling (up to 6x) Super Sampling (up to 6x) Super Sampling (up to 6x) Super Sampling (up to 6x)
Anisotropic filtering Modes Up to 16x Up to 16x Up to 16x Up to 16x
Other Features
  • VIDEO IMMERSION II
  • FULLSTREAM
  • HYDRAVISION
  • VIDEO IMMERSION II
  • FULLSTREAM
  • HYDRAVISION
  • VIDEO IMMERSION II
  • FULLSTREAM
  • HYDRAVISION
  • VIDEO IMMERSION II
  • FULLSTREAM
  • HYDRAVISION
  • RAMDAC Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz Dual 400MHz
    TV Output Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768 Int., 1024x768
    TMDS transmitter Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz Int. 165MHz
    AGP speed 8x 8x 8x 4x
    AGP bus Compatibility AGP 3.0 and 2.0 AGP 3.0 and 2.0 AGP 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0 AGP 2.0 and 1.0


    To put it simply, the only difference on the RADEON 9250 is a clock speed reduction to 240MHz versus the old RADEON 9200 that had a core clock of 250MHz. The speed at which their frame buffer operates is identical at 400MHz DDR. While the RADEON 9200 utilizes a 128-bit DDR interface to the frame buffer, the RADEON 9250 is available in both 64-bit and 128-bit DDR interfaces. On the RADEON 9200 series, a lower-cost 64-bit memory interface version is sold as the RADEON 9200 SE and it has even slower core/memory clock speeds.

    Although it might seem that the RADEON 9250 is a 'replacement' of some sort for the RADEON 9200 series, no such indications were made known by ATI and all are still present in their current line-up. With very little differentiation between both the RADEON 9200 and RADEON 9200 SE, we can't help but feel that ATI has surplus inventory of these RV280 parts and the easiest way to help ease this situation is dish out a new product line. However, buyers have to be more wary when getting their hands on a RADEON 9250 because the same model name has two very different performing products (128-bit and 64-bit memory interfaces). There is no clear naming discrimination such as the RADEON 9200 and 9200 SE, so the onus of proper marketing is upon the various graphics card vendors themselves.

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