Let me explain why we sorted Retail and OEM. The thing is that ATI Technologies produced OEM cards with lowered (166 MHz) clock rates unannounced, but testers received Retail (183 MHz) versions. As both variants are on sale, we have tested all of them.
Overclocks to 200/200 (400) MHz (see summary diagrams).
In the summer of the year 2000, when NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS was at peak with its prices dropping, ATI released a product, being absolutely noncompetitive due to its high price and half-made drivers. The software quality became acceptable only in a year after the release, and prices for some RADEON models became rather attractive. The fall of 2001 brought the successor - RADEON 7500, made according to a better technical process, and thus having more higher clock rate. Now RADEON 7500 cards cost less than the reviewed card, so RADEON 64 MBytes DDR is bound to vanish. It's almost not manufactured anymore, companies sell their stock.
For the 15th of February 2002 the latest drivers from ATI are 9.012, 9.013, 9.016 for Windows 9x/ME and 6.016, 6.032 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.
All 9.* versions are generally the same (except for maybe 9.016, showing a slight perfomance boost). It's almost the same with 6.* versions. However, a number of versions demonstrate the problem with refresh rate setting. The fix methods are described at Radeon2.ru. You can also read about problems users of various ATI cards face with various drivers.
I also want to mark good enough FSAA quality and gameplay:
I advise you to read about S3TC influence on speed and perfomance, because S3TC realization in OpenGL is important nowadays, and it shows good results.
Due to the fact that Radeon does support anisotropic filtering, I recommend you to pay attention to the article concerning this feature.
It's interesting to mark that there's the first game to support all three texture modules on the rendering pipeline - Serious Sam. The game automatically determines this RADEON feature and sets triple texturing. Therefore in all tests based on this game RADEON works at full capacity. But still it's interesting to track the changes caused by one more TMU on the pipeline instead of usual two:
Above diagrams show perfomance boost in percent caused by additional TMU. The boost is not so essential, but the fact itself is rather significant. We hope there will be more games to get all 100% from RADEON.
Below are some screenshots taken on RADEON and reference ones taken on NVIDIA GeForce3. Pay attention to Need For Speed: Porshe 2000. As we've already said all cards by ATI lack fog in this game. But it can be enabled either with the help of RadeonTweaker utility (download the latest version from ATINFO) or by means of manual registry editing. You'll need to enable WFogEnable and TableFogEnable. This method proved to be efficient with 7.041, 7.131, 7.153 versions.
I must say that 3DMark2001 has some bugs with a number of old drivers:
2D quality is NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS perfect. Of course some monitors will show "soaped" picture, but you shouldn't blame videocard at once, just check if your monitor is tuned fine and is not defocused.