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» Channels :: Graphics Card
Gigabyte MAYA RADEON 9000 PRO
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Thursday, 24th October, 2002
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

The ATI RADEON 9700 VPU is the ultimate in gaming power as we witnessed it in the form of the Gigabyte MAYA II GV-9700 PRO which we reviewed just over a month back. The RADEON 9700 VPU was the first true DirectX 9.0 compliant graphics processor and also the first rendering graphics engine to be endowed with an 8-pixel pipeline architecture. Indeed there were many advances made with the RADEON 9700 VPU.

The RADEON 9700 VPU was the answer to many extreme gamers and a solution for tomorrow’s games. At the same time frame, ATI also announced another graphics chip that was touted to replace the existing RADEON 8500 GPU series even though the RADEON 9700 VPU already surpasses the RADEON 8500 GPU by more than two folds.

That core was known as the RV250, for which it will be marketed as the RADEON 9000 and RADEON 9000 PRO (with the only difference being a higher clock speed on the RADEON 9000 PRO). For your reference, the RADEON 8500’s core was also known as the R200 and the RADEON 9700’s code was R300. The RADEON 9000 series is based on a ‘value’ core hence the use of the letter ‘V’ in the code name, similar to the RADEON 7500, which utilized the RV200 core.

Now, why is ATI replacing the higher-end mainstream products (RADEON 8500, RADEON 8500LE) with a value core? To start with, lets look at the differences between the various cores to establish how they vary:

ATI GPU/VPU Feature and Technical Info Comparison
GPU/VPU RADEON 9700 PRO RADEON 9000 PRO RADEON 9000 RADEON 8500 RADEON 8500LE
Core Code RV300 RV250 RV250 R200 R200
Manufacturing Process (microns) 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15
Core Clock 325MHz 275MHz 250MHz 275MHz 250MHz
Rendering Pipelines 8 4 4 4 4
Pixel Fill Rate (MPixels/s) 2,600 1,100 1,000 1,100 1,000
Texture Units per Pipeline 1 1 1 2 2
Memory Clock 310MHz (620MHz DDR) 275MHz (550MHz DDR) 200MHz (400MHz DDR) 275MHz (550MHz DDR) 250MHz (550MHz DDR)
DDR Memory Bus 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 19.8GB/s 8.8GB/s 6.4GB/s 8.8GB/s 8.0GB/s
Features SMARTSHADER 2.0, SMOOTHVISION 2.0, HYPER Z III, TRUFORM 2.0, VIDEOSHADER, FULLSTREAM, VIDEO IMMERSION II, HYDRAVISION SMARTSHADER 1.0, SMOOTHVISION 1.0, HYPER Z II, TRUFORM 1.0, FULLSTREAM, VIDEO IMMERSION II, HYDRAVISION SMARTSHADER 1.0, SMOOTHVISION 1.0, HYPER Z II, TRUFORM 1.0, VIDEO IMMERSION II, HYDRAVISION
Pixel Shader Support 2.0 1.4 1.4
Vertex Shader Support 2.0 1.1 1.1
DirectX Support Up to DirectX 9.0 Up to DirectX 8.1 Up to DirectX 8.1
FSAA Mode Multi Sampling Super Sampling Super Sampling
Other Features
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant)
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant)
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Integrated 400 MHz DACs (external RAMDAC possible)
  • DVI is optional (via ATI Rage Theater)
  • TV-Output is optional (via ATI Rage Theater)
AGP speed 8x 4x 4x
AGP Bus Compatibility AGP 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0 AGP 2.0 and 1.0 AGP 2.0 and 1.0


As in the past, the RV series of graphics cores have a mix of features from the old and the new cores. In the RV250 core, there have been some very interesting moves made by ATI. Prior to the release of the RADEON 9000 series, the primary mission of the RV250 core was to outclass and outperform the NVIDIA GeForce4 MX series – NVIDIA’s mainstream product. The GeForce4 MX based graphics products were quite successful in both the OEM and the retail channels. ATI not taking their success lightly was determined to get back at the mainstream market with a lower priced or equivalently priced products while attempting to surpass its competitors.

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