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ATI Technologies GPU Based Connect3D Video Cards

May 15, 2003






CONTENTS

  1. General information
  2. Video cards' features
  3. Testbed configuration
  4. Test results: briefly on 2D 
  5. Test results
  6. Conclusion

Connect3D is located not in China or Taiwan, but in Great Britain. Why does it make cards exceptionally on ATI GPUs? It's not clear! Maybe, the ways of life in Canada and Great Britain are much closer to each other than to the mad and constantly changing American life (where the most dangerous ATI's enemy is located - NVIDIA). 

Nonetheless, I must say it again that Connect3D, this European company established a short time ago, produces graphics cards only on the ATI's processors. And today we have its products in our lab in a large scale. 

Cards

 

Connect3D RADEON 9000 64MB (front) Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 64MB (front)






Connect3D RADEON 9000 128MB (front)



Connect3D RADEON 9000 64MB (back) Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 64MB (back)






Connect3D RADEON 9000 128MB (back)



Connect3D RADEON 9000 PRO 128MB (front) Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB (front)






Connect3D RADEON 9000 PRO 128MB (back) Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB (back)






Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB (front) Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 Pro 64MB (front)






Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB (back) Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB (back)






Connect3D RADEON 9100 64MB (front) Reference card ATI RADEON 8500 64MB (front)






Connect3D RADEON 9100 128MB (front)



Connect3D RADEON 9100 64MB (back) Reference card ATI RADEON 8500 64MB (back)






Connect3D RADEON 9100 128MB (back)



Connect3D RADEON 9500 128MB (128bit) (front) Reference card ATI RADEON 9500 PRO 128MB (front)






Connect3D RADEON 9500 128MB (128bit) (back) Reference card ATI RADEON 9500 PRO 128MB (back)






Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB (front) Reference card ATI RADEON 9700 Pro 128MB (front)






Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB (back) Reference card ATI RADEON 9700 Pro 128MB (back)







 
 
Connect3D RADEON 9000 64MB, Connect3D RADEON 9100 64MB
The card has AGP 2x/4x interface, 64 MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides. Samsung memory chips of 4ns access time. Memory clocked at 200 (400) MHz, core at 250 MHz. The frequencies are standard for the RADEON 9000, but the RADEON 9100 must have 250/250. Unfortunately, the memory's frequency is lowered. Remember that the RADEON 9000 has 4 pipelines and 4 texture units, while the RADEON 9100 has 4 pipelines and 8 texture units. 


Connect3D RADEON 9000 128MB, Connect3D RADEON 9100 128MB
The card has AGP 2x/4x interface, 128MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides. Samsung memory chips of 5ns access time. Memory clocked at 200 (400) MHz, core at 250 MHz. Again, the clock speed of memory of the RADEON 9100 is lowered. 


Connect3D RADEON 9000 PRO 128MB
The card has AGP 2x/4x interface, 128MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides. Samsung memory chips of 3.6ns access time. Memory clocked at 250 (500) MHz, core at 275 MHz, which is not normal for the RADEON 9000 PRO (the memory's frequency is lowered!). 


Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB
The card has AGP 2x/4x interface, 64MB DDR SDRAM in 4 chips on the PCB's front side. Infenion BGA packed memory chips of 3.3ns access time. Memory clocked at 275 (550) MHz, core at 275 MHz. 


Connect3D RADEON 9500 128MB (128bit)
The card has AGP x2/x4/x8 interface, 128MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides. Samsung memory chips of 3.6ns access time. Memory clocked at 270 (540) MHz, core at 275 MHz. 


Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB
The card has AGP x2/x4/x8 interface, 128MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides. Samsung memory chips of 2.8ns access time. Memory clocked at 310 (620) MHz, core at 325 MHz. 
 



Now have a look at the RADEON 9100 :-) 




  • Although it's actually the same RADEON 8500LE, the RADEON 9100 has a different PCB design, it lacks a second RAMDAC chip, which means that it's impossible to set different resolutions when having with two monitors connected. 
  • As you can see, the RADEON 9100 has no number marked on the chip, in contrast to the RADEON 8500. However, it's still the RADEON 8500LE. 
  • Connect3D's design of the RADEON 9000 differs from the reference one (implemented by Sapphire). 
  • The RADEON 9500 128MB (128bit) of Connect3D is an exact copy of the reference design for such cards which was recently taken as a base (some time ago we reviewed a card on such PCB from HIS). Before the RADEON 9500 128MB this design was used (and it actually is currently used as well) for the RADEON 9500 PRO. That is why we have add the suffix "128bit" to the card's name since there are old RADEON 9500 cards on the market equipped with a 256bit bus. 
  • The All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO is based on the normal RADEON 9700 PRO without the clock speeds decreased. We can see that the right part follows the reference design in every aspect, while the left one accumulates all the new multimedia functions. Read more about this card in the review we will publish in the middle of May. 
  • The combo card based on the RADEON 9000 PRO has a unique design much different from the ordinary RADEON 9000 PRO. First of all, it has the BGA packed memory. However, the clock speeds are the same. 

Accessories: 
 

Connect3D RADEON 9000 64MB, Connect3D RADEON 9100 64MB, Connect3D RADEON 9000 128MB, Connect3D RADEON 9100 128MB, Connect3D RADEON 9000 PRO 128MB
CD with drivers, user guide (with register card) and S-Video-to-RCA adapter. 


Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 PRO 64MB
CD with drivers, user guide, and cables serving multimedia functions of this card. 


Connect3D RADEON 9500 128MB (128bit)
CD with drivers, user guide, S-Video-to-RCA, DVI-to-d-Sud adapters, splitter for external power supply. 


Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB
This card has the richest suite of accessories, which was actually expected from the card priced over $450. It comes with everything the All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 PRO has, plus a remote control with a USB receiver. 


The boxes are very similar, they have a single same style, that is why I'll show you only one of them: 




Testbeds and drivers

Testbeds: 

  • Pentium 4 3066 MHz: 
    • Intel Pentium 4 3066 MHz; 
    • ASUS P4G8X (iE7205); 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB; 
    • Windows XP SP1; 
    • ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21"). 
    • ATI drivers v6.307. 

VSync off, texture compression off (in games), texture detail set to High Quality both in Direct3D and in OpenGL. 

Test Results

2D graphics

Tested together with the ViewSonic P817 monitor and BNC Bargo cable the cards showed excellent quality at the following resolutions and clock speeds:  

Connect3D RADEON 9000 64MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
Connect3D RADEON 9000 128MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
Connect3D RADEON 9100 64MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
Connect3D RADEON 9100 128MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
Connect3D RADEON 9000 PRO 128MB DDR  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x120Hz 
Connect3D RADEON 9500 128MB (128bit) DDR  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz 
Connect3D All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO 128MB DDR  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz 

 

Test Results

Test applications: 

  • Quake3 Arena v.1.17 (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, Quaver, 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

  •  
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (MultiPlayer) (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, Checkpoint-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, Grand Cathedral demo, test settings: quality, S3TC OFF 

  •  
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo v.1077 (Digital Extreme/Epic Games) - Direct3D, Vertex Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, default quality 

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

  •  

3D graphics, game tests

We did not test the RADEON 9500 128MB, All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 PRO and All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO as they work at the default frequencies: for some of them you can look for the results in our 3Digest, and the All-In-Wonder series will soon be thoroughly reviewed. 
 

Quake3 Arena








Serious Sam: TSE








RtCW








UT2003 DEMO








Rightmark 3D v.0.4







It's clear that the Connect3D video cards based on the RADEON 9100 lose often even to the RADEON 9000 because of the memory clocking lowered. 

Conclusion

All the cards were very stable during the tests and have high build quality. Well, the quality is of the European level, the company is from UK and the employees are Europeans. 

Unfortunately, because of the lowered clock speeds in most cases the cards lose to the cards from other vendors except the RADEON 9000 64MB which performs better than the Sapphire's solution. 

I hope that their prices will be adequate to their speeds. But you should remember that their quality is much higher than that of similar cards from other manufacturers. 
 
 
 

Andrey Vorobiev  (anvakams@ixbt.com
 

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