iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






October 2002 3Digest -
ATI RADEON 9000 128MB DDR (250/400 MHz)

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This chip is presented by Hercules 3D Prophet 9000 Pro 128MB, AGP card.


  • ATI RADEON 9000 chip, clock rate lowered to 250 MHz;
  • 128MB DDR SGRAM in 8 Samsung 3.6 ns chips, clock rate lowered to 200 (400) MHz, 128-bit bus;
  • Peak fill rate in the multitexturing mode is 1000 megapixels/sec and 1000 megatexels/sec.

Wasn't overclocked.

In July 2002 ATI made two anouncements: one about R300-based High-End solution (RADEON 9700), another - about the mainstream RV250-based RADEON 9000.

It's not a secret that below $100 mainstream market is the most popular, bringing highest revenues. Through years NVIDIA continues its right marketing policy, releasing impressive product lines that include both cheap, and High-End solutions (like GeForce4 Ti). Last fall ATI has also presented users a selection of RADEON 7500 (mainstream) and 8500 (High-End). Besides, there were many older RADEON 7000/7200 in the market. This approach along with the new partnerships with some makers enabled the Canadian company to press American NVIDIA. However, RADEON 7500 was just an overclocked RADEON with dual-monitor support. It took a considerable price cut to enable these cards to gain popularity (considering the previous negative image of ATI as a company that releases bad drivers). At that the pressure from NVIDIA was very intense, strengthened by mainstream GeForce4 MX. Now we see GeForce4 Ti 4200 prices dropping deeper and deeper in its fight with the previous ATI High-End solution - RADEON 8500.

However, NVIDIA made a big mistake, paired down GeForce4 MX to the level of an overclocked GeForce2 without any DirectX 8.1 support. First of all, now there are games using shader technologies, unsupported by GeForce4 MX, so the release of RV250 may knockdown GeForce4 MX, as ATI introduces shaders to the below $100 cards! It means that game developers will at last create games, fully utilizing shaders (especially pixel shaders), for the expanded DirectX 8.1 card market. And the increasing number of such games may become a death sentence to GeForce4 MX.

We are bound to compliment ATI for this solution. And if the number of shader games increases abruptly, we will have to thank Canadians for this. Of course, NVIDIA won't stay in a hole and may slow ATI progress by a new Ti 4200 price cut. But now these are only guesses.

I believe our readers have already understood that RV250 (RADEON 9000) is the replacement for RV200 (RADEON 7500). I.e. RADEON 9000 is not meant to replace RADEON 8500! However, last information about RADEON 8500 discontinuance prejudices aforesaid along with the policy correctness in general. Though if R300 is used in cards for RADEON 8500 market segment ($150-220), everything will be OK.

Theoretical and analytical videocard reviews, containing functional analysis of NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti GPU: ATI RADEON 9000

On the 10th of October 2002 the latest drivers from ATI are 6.178, 6.193 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.

Cards' performance is in the summary diagrams.

Considering that RADEON 9000 supports the same DX81 functions, as RADEON 8500, we won't describe shader performance again, as you can read about it in the RADEON 8500 section.

Below are screenshots from a number of games taken on RADEON 9000, and the reference screenshots 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. DOOM 3 v0.02
  • 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. No One Lives Forever Demo
  • 27. AquaNox
  • 28. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
  • 29. IL2: Shturmovik
  • 30. MoHAA

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

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