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September 2002 3Digest -
ATI RADEON 8500 (275/550 MHz)

This chip is presented by Gigabyte MAYA AP64SP-H Deluxe RADEON 8500 64MB, 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.


Wasn't overclocked.

So, it's the one of the most powerful High-End products from ATI. Those willing to get some detailed information should read RADEON 8500 review. This card competes with NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500. I must admit that it's been hard to compete with RADEON 8500 from the point of pricing. And the most serious problem of these cards - their inaccessibility - is solved by mass shipments. However, more powerful GeForce4 Ti 4200 already threats latest ATI products. Besides, the release of RADEON 9000 introduced some uncertainty: on the one hand it must push RADEON 7500 out of the market, on the other - ATI is rumoured to cancel RADEON 8500 production after the new release. Read more about RADEON 8500 in our reviews:

Theoretical and analytical videocard reviews, containing functional analysis of NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti GPU: ATI RADEON 8500

On the 10th of September 2002 the latest drivers from ATI are 6.143, 6.159, 6.166 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.

Windows XP

All the latest drivers belong to the CATALYST serie. It's rather raw, causing a number of problems in games (see the details on 3Digest main page).

In particular, note the problems in IL2 with 6.118 version. Therefore, I think the penultimate official 6.071 version behaves more stable in most tests.

I want to attract you to versions 6.025 and higher. All of them have the feature of anisotropy forcing in Direct3D, described in the corresponding section. As Radeon does (though ambiguously) support anisotropic filtering, I recommend you to pay attention to the article concerning this feature.

Some versions demonstrate problems with refresh rate setting. Known treatments are described at Radeon2.ru. In the forum you can also read about problems users of various ATI cards face with various drivers.

With a great satisfaction I report that ATI programmers removed card's high results "adjustments" in versions 6.015 and higher, falsifying highest 3D quality settings in Quake3. AND NOW 6.* DRIVERS SUPPORT TRUE TRILINEAR FILTERING!!!

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. No One Lives Forever Demo
  • 27. AquaNox
  • 28. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
  • 29. IL2: Shturmovik
  • 30. MoHAA

Andrew Worobyew (Anvakams@ixbt.com)
Alexander Kondakov (kondalex@ixbt.com)
Evgeniy Zaycev (eightn@ixbt.com)
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