iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






August 2002 3Digest -
ATI RADEON 8500LE (250 MHz)

This chip is presented by Manli RADEON 8500 64MB (250 MHz), AGP card.

Let me explain why we marked this card's clock rate. ATI Technologies traditionally produces not single products but their lines. Until today company usually hid clock rates from users, shipping faster cards as Retail and slower as OEM. You can read more about it in the RADEON 64MB section.

Now the common sense prevailed and ATI officially divided RADEON 8500 into two products - 8500 and 8500LE. The latter has lower 250 MHz clock rate. So, not to confuse users we'll mark clock rates together with card name.


  • ATI RADEON 8500LE chip, 250 MHz clock rate;
  • 64MB DDR SDRAM in 8 Hynix 3.6 ns chips, clock rate lowered to 250 (500) MHz, 128-bit bus;
  • Peak fill rate in the multitexturing mode is 1000 megapixels/sec and 2000 megatexels/sec.

Wasn't overclocked.

So, it's the penultimate-generation High-End product from ATI (RADEON 9700 has been announced, but was unavailable to testers). Those willing to get some detailed information should read RADEON 8500 review. Certainly, being one of the fastest accelerators, this card aspires to compete with NVIDIA GeForce3. Our review showed this competition to be rather controversial as even GeForce3 Ti 200 and not only GeForce3 Ti wins in a number of games, but RADEON 8500 has the great advantage in some tests. Now RADEON 8500LE cards already cost $110-120.

On the 10th of August 2002 the latest drivers from ATI are 6.102, 6.107, 6.118 for Windows XP.

I shall note there's Radeon2.ru web-site that tracks all software novelties from ATI and offers improved drivers versions with preset registry settings for increasing RADEON cards perfomance.

As the drivers differences are equal for the both RADEON 8500 cards with DDR memory, there's no sense in comparing drivers separately for each of these cards. See ATI RADEON 8500 (275 MHz) section for more information about drivers.

Some versions have problems with refresh rate setting in some resolutions.

And now I want to attract your attention to another important 3D feature - filtering. As many of you know, all chipsets support bilinear filtering that is an important instrument in MIP-mapping, some chipsets support trilinear filtering (true, not the approximation) and only few support anisotropic filtering.

Due to the fact that Radeon does support anisotropic filtering, I recommend you to pay attention to the article concerning this feature. You should read it attentively, as the ATI anisotropy is very ambiguous.

As there are no real application using Pixel Shaders 1.4. So, below are some demonstrations of one of water realization methods based on Pixel Shaders 1.4. you may compare these shots with X-Isle's water in the GeForce3 section, for example.

Pity again, but it's still impossible to demonstrate this technology at work on examples of games or demos. The same X-Isle uses NVIDIA cards specificial OpenGL extensions disabling this demo on non-GeForce cards. Certainly, the above demo was made with PS 1.4, so it works with RADEON 8500 only. You can also pay attention to the new 3DMark2001 SE with pixel shaders v1.4 test. Read more about it in the Gigabyte MAYA RADEON 8500 review.

Nevertheless, these technics allow to create masterpieces of 3D-graphics:

As it's known RADEON 8500 supports very interesting feature and advantage - N-Patches technology called TruForm. All details are in our R200 analysis and in mentioned RADEON 8500 review. Screenshots below demonstrate TruForm capabilities for creating a detailed human face.

I want to recommend to read the review of Review of SuperGrace RADEON 7500/8500, describing TRUEFORM technology in detail on the example of Serious Sam.

Below are some screenshots taken on RADEON and reference ones taken on NVIDIA GeForce3.

Games / Cards 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12



Games / Cards 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24


Games / Cards 25 26 27 28 29 30


Game list:

  • 1. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • 2. Unreal2 (alpha version)
  • 3. Comanche4
  • 4. Jedi Knight II Outcast
  • 5. Morrowind
  • 6. Colin McRAE Rally2 (Windows XP)
  • 7. Red Faction
  • 8. Rally Trophy
  • 9. Sacrifice
  • 10. Venom
  • 11. Unreal Tournament 2003 DEMO
  • 12. Real MYST
  • 13. Blade of Darkness (Windows XP)
  • 14. Neverwinter Nights
  • 15. 3DMark2001: Game1
  • 16. 3DMark2001: Game2
  • 17. 3DMark2001: Game3
  • 18. 3DMark2001: Game4
  • 19. 3DMark2001: Dot3
  • 20. 3DMark2001: EMBM
  • 21. 3DMark2001: Vertex Shaders
  • 22. 3DMark2001: Pixel Shaders
  • 23. Warcraft III
  • 24. Soldier of Fortune II
  • 25. Command and Conquer: Renegade
  • 26. Max Payne
  • 27. AquaNox
  • 28. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
  • 29. IL2: Shturmovik
  • 30. MoHAA

Andrey Vorobiev (Anvakams@ixbt.com)
Alexander Kondakov (kondalex@ixbt.com)
Evgeniy Zaycev (eightn@ixbt.com)

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