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Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB,
Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB
Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB

on ATI RADEON 9200/9600/9600 PRO/9800 PRO

August 23, 2003




 




CONTENTS

  1. Video card features
  2. Testbed, test tools, 2D quality
  3. Test results: Quake3 ARENA
  4. Test results: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
  5. Test results: Return to Castle Wolfenstein

  1. Test results: Code Creatures DEMO
  2. Test results: Unreal Tournament 2003
  3. Test results: Unreal II: The Awakening
  4. Test results: RightMark 3D
  5. Conclusion

The summer is close to its end, top 3D accelerators have reached the summit of sales... But in Septemper/October ATI and NVIDIA are going to announce something new. Poor card makers... Users especially those who have just bought an extra-expensive accelerator are not in a better situation. However, apart from High-End, Middle-End cards are also going to be announced.

But the autumn hasn't come yet, and we keep on estimating video cards of the latest generation. In case of ATI, the most popular processors are RADEON 9500 (getting dated), RADEON 9600 (new-comer), RADEON 9800 (top product). In the low-end sector it's RADEON 9200 though it doesn't support the DirectX 9.0. You can find the detailed information on all these products in the following reviews:

Theoretical materials and reviews of video cards which concern functional properties of the GPU ATI RADEON 9500/9700/9800

Today we are dealing with 4 video cards from Connect3D which are based on the RADEON 9200/9600/9600 PRO/9800 PRO. The company itself is European and headquartered in Great Britain. But its production facilities are in China (like 95% of IT-related companies). Its products, however, comply with the European quality standards.

Card

Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB


Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB


Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB


Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB



 
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory (the Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO has 256MB) in 8 chips on both PCB sides (the Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB has 16 chips).

Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB
Samsung DDR-II memory chips of  2.2ns access time, it corresponds to 454 (908) MHz, but the memory works at 350 (700) MHz. The GPU runs at 380 MHz. 256bit memory interface.

 




Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
Samsung memory chips of  3.3ns access time, it corresponds to 300 (600) MHz, and the memory does work at this frequency. The GPU runs at 400 MHz. 


Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB, Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB
Samsung memory chips of  4ns access time, it corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, but the memory works at 200 (400) MHz. The GPU runs at 325 MHz in the RADEON 9600 and at 250 MHz in the RADEON 9200.



 
Comparison with the reference design, front view
Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO






Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB  Reference card ATI RADEON 9600 PRO









Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9600









Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9200










 
Comparison with the reference design, back view
Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO






Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB  Reference card ATI RADEON 9600 PRO






Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9600






Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9200







 

The RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB is the reference card itself, and judging by its sticker it's made for ATI. Such cards are produced at the same factory, that is why you can be sure that whatever ATI's partner is the cards are the same. 

The RADEON 9600 PRO from Connect3D is based on the reference design as well. But the RADEON 9600/9200 have their own design.

As you know, almost all cards coming from ATI's partners have identical coolers. Just note that the RADEON 9600/9200 has a passive heatsink, while the RADEON 9800/9600 PRO has coolers with fans.

Here are the accessory packs: 
 

Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB, Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB 
User manual, CD with drivers and utilities, S-Video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters.


Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB
User manual, CD with drivers and utilities, S-Video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, TV extender and external power supply splitter.


Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB
User manual, CD with drivers and utilities, S-Video-to-RCA adapter.



 
All cards ship in something like a retail package (I can't call it a normal package). 
 
Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB; Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB
All packages have a single style.


Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB
They differ in just what's written and in dimensions, but they are anyway so small that some video cards with their accessories hardly fit in.


Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB
The design looks tasteless and unattractive. 



 

Testbed and drivers

Testbed: 

  • Pentium 4 3200 MHz based computer:
    • Intel Pentium 4 3200 MHz CPU;
    • DFI LANParty Pro875 (i875P) mainboard; 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB HDD; 
    • Windows XP SP1; DirectX 9.0a;
    • ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21") monitors.
    • ATI drivers v6.368.

VSync off, S3TC off in applications. 

Cards used for comparison:

  • Leadtek WinFast A310 Ultra (GeForce FX 5600 Ultra, 350/350 (700) MHz, 128 MB, driver 45.20);
  • MSI FX5600-VTD128 (GeForce FX 5600, 325/275 (550) MHz, 128 MB, driver 45.20);
  • ASUS V9950 Ultra (GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, 450/425 (850) MHz, 256 MB, driver 45.20).

We have taken the FX 5600 Ultra running at 350 MHz instead of 400 MHz because the 400MHz cards are in short supply and much more expensive than the RADEON 9600 PRO. 

Test results

Before we start examining 2D quality, I should say there are no complete techniques for objective 2D quality estimation because: 

  1. 2D quality much depends on certain samples for almost all modern 3D accelerators; 
  2. Besides videocards, 2D quality depends on monitors and cables; 
  3. Moreover, certain monitors might not work properly with certain video cards. 

With the ViewSonic P817 monitor and BNC Bargo cable the card showed excellent quality at the following resolutions and clock speeds:


Connect3D RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB 1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz (the quality is generally excellent)
Connect3D RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB  1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x100Hz (the quality is generally acceptable, almost good)
Connect3D RADEON 9600 128MB 1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x75Hz, 1024x768x85Hz (the quality is satisfactory)
Connect3D RADEON 9200 128MB 1280x1024x75Hz, 1024x768x85Hz (the quality is almost satisfactory, in 1600x1200@75Hz the image's soapy)

Test results: cards' performance

Test applications: 

  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (MultiPlayer) (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0703-demo, test settings - maximum, S3TC OFF, the configurations can be downloaded from here

  •  
  • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter v.1.05 (Croteam/GodGames) - OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0703demo, test settings: quality, S3TC OFF

  •  
  • Quake3 Arena v.1.17 (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0703 demo, test settings - maximum: detailing level - High, texture detailing level - #4, S3TC OFF, smoothness of curves is much increased through variables r_subdivisions "1" and r_lodCurveError "30000" (at default r_lodCurveError is 250 !), the configurations can be downloaded from here

  •  
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 v.2225 (Digital Extreme/Epic Games) - Direct3D, Vertex Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, default quality

  •  
  • Code Creatures Benchmark Pro (CodeCult) - the game that demonstrates card's operation in DirectX 8.1, Shaders, HW T&L.

  •  
  • Unreal II: The Awakening (Legend Ent./Epic Games) - Direct3D, Vertex Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, default quality

  •  
  • RightMark 3D v.0.4 (one of game scenes) - DirectX 8.1, Dot3, cube texturing, shadow buffers, vertex and pixel shaders (1.1, 1.4).

If you want to get the demo benchmarks that we use let me know by e-mail.

Quake3 Arena





The RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB has lost to the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra in almost all heavy tests except the modes with the Quality-level anisotropy. Without AA and anisotropy the cards are equal. The same picture can be seen on the ring of RADEON 9600 PRO and GeForce FX 5600 Ultra.

As to the RADEON 9600/9200, they have no chance to win at all. 

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter





In the High-End sector that cards have very close scores, with the RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB falling a little behind in the heavy modes. In the Midde-End sector the RADEON 9600 PRO performs better though the heavy modes make this card lose as well. The RADEON 9600 loses to its competitor in the heavy modes to a greater degree.

The RADEON 9200 loses in the low-end sector! 

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Multiplayer)





In this test the RADEON 9800 PRO almost wins in the High-End sector (except two modes), RADEON 9600 PRO takes the lead in its sector, as well as the RADEON 9600 (except one mode).

The RADEON 9200 beats the FX 5200 once more. 

[ Part II: Test results and Conclusion ]

 

 
 
 

Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)



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