iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






February 2003 3Digest -
ATI RADEON 9700Pro 128MB DDR (325/620 MHz)

This chip is presented by Hercules 3D Prophet 9700 Pro 128MB, AGP card.


  • ATI RADEON 9700 chip, 325 MHz clock rate;
  • 128MB DDR SGRAM in 8 Samsung K4D26323RA-GC2A BGA chips. Max. clock - 350 (700) MHz, so the fetch time should be 2.8ns instead of the 2.2ns mentioned in some reviews. The default clock is 310 (620) MHz, 256-bit bus;
  • Peak fill rate in the multitexturing mode is 2600 megapixels/sec and 2600 megatexels/sec.

Overclocks to 360/700 MHz.

In July 2002 ATI Technologies announced its new the the most powerful 3D GPU - RADEON 9700. Later it became a base for ATI RADEON 9700Pro card. All details about the new 3D graphics top-model are provided in our review. Here we'll state only brief analysis results.

  1. In general, the card is good despite chip complexity and high temperature mode (without additional cooling chip heats to 85 degrees (!), while PCB heats up to 68-70 degrees. But this doesn't affect card stability (tested by a 6-hour 3DMark03 cycle).
  2. I must note that due to some reason (perhaps, mobo BIOS) after you install ATI RADEON 9700 Pro to Soltek 75DRV5 (VIA KT333), there are only AGP 1x and 2x available (!). 4X is n/a though, the mobo works in this mode with other cards. As this card DOESN'T SEEM TO SUPPORT AGP 2X (and shouldn't support, according to AGP 3.0 specs), any 3D app locks up.
  3. We can state the 3D performance is very good. Well, 8x1 architecture will burden future resource-greedy games. But today I can tell you one thing: the enabled AA and anisotropy are a must for this card! (The latter is especially good.) So, we advise all willing to pay $300-350 for this super card to learn about 3D graphics basics not to be afraid to set and control 3D quality features.
  4. After minuses (low fill rate due to 8X1, high price, artefacts in some games), pluses - besides the general performance - are the improved anisotropic filtering support and better AA (high quality at moderate performance reduction.)

By the end of the month the product belongs to the $323-343 range; supports DirectX 9.0; closest rivals (if any): GeForce4 Ti 4600, GeForceFX.

On the 10th of February 2003 the latest drivers version from ATI is 6.292 for Windows XP.

Windows XP

As you can see, new versions are almost identical. 6.255 drivers are the most stable.

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 the latest drivers belong to the CATALYST serie.

Taking into account the new anisotropy quality, I recommend you to read the anisotropic filtering section.

Below are screenshots of the new RADEON 9700 feature: SmoothVision II - MSAA.

Example 1 Example 2
3DMark03, Game 1

AA 4x

AA 6x

3DMark03, Game 3

AA 4x

AA 6x

3DMark03, Game 4

AA 4x

AA 6x

Serious Sam: TSE

AA 4x

AA 6x

Below are screenshots obtained on RADEON 9700 along with reference images obtained on ATI RADEON 9500.

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



Games list:

  • 1. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • 2. Unreal2 (alpha version)
  • 3. Comanche4
  • 4. Jedi Knight II Outcast
  • 5. Morrowind
  • 6. Colin McRAE Rally2
  • 7. Red Faction
  • 8. Rally Trophy
  • 9. Need For Speed
  • 10. Venom
  • 11. Unreal Tournament 2003 DEMO
  • 12. DOOM 3 v0.02

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



Games list:

Games / Cards 25 26 27 28 29 30


Game and test list:

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

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