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TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB
Video Card Review

October 7, 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 (speed and quality)
  6. Test results: Code Creatures DEMO
  7. Test results: Unreal Tournament 2003 (speed and quality)
  8. Test results: Unreal II: The Awakening (speed and quality)
  9. Test results: RightMark 3D
  10. Conclusion

We keep on speaking about the Tachyons which were first discussed in the review of the TYAN RADEON 9600 PRO.

Tachyons are the particles travel in the vacuum faster than light. The mass is imaginary. Not found in the birth and decomposition processes. The hypothesis of tachyons was widely discussed yet in 60s/ early 70s when the scientists carried out experiments of spreading of short light pulses in the amplified medium. They are often used in science fiction literature.

Source: http://physics.nad.ru

Terletsky hypothesis states that tachyons (the objects of a very light weight, Tachy means "swift" in Greek) can play a role on the microscopic level. The world lines of tachyons could join the events separated with spacelike intervals. Some scientists consider there are parallel worlds of tachyons.

Source: www.astronomy.ru

TYAN was wrong when selected such name for its product. The concept of the imaginary mass doesn't suit a video card with such a massive heatsink :). However, the marketing departments like to use beautiful names that imply some unique things.

So, this Tachyon version is much closer to our understanding, i.e. to the RADEON 9800 PRO accelerator.

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

The RADEON 9800 PRO itself is thoroughly examined in the reviews listed above.

TYAN's products are well known on the world market, though the company is known mostly for its mainboards well configured for operation in servers and workstations. The company entered the video card market quite recently.

Today we have the flagship of the RADEON based line ffrom TYAN - G9800PRO-M. The board looks unique. 

Card

TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB




TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides. 

Samsung 2.8ns memory chips correspond to 350 (700) MHz but the memory works at 340 (680) MHz typical of the RADEON 9800 PRO. GPU clocked at 380 MHz (400MHz with TYAN's special utility). 256bit memory interface.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO











Comparison with the reference design, back view
TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO











The PCB design is based on the reference one but the hardware monitoring support brings two thermal sensors and the monitoring chip onboard.










The TYAN Graphic Monitor software:




























The card supports monitoring of memory and core voltages, temperatures of the core (probably, by the processor means), on the upper memory chips and on the right one (each unit of the chips has one thermistor). The fan's speed of rotation is also controlled with the tachometer.

In the upper right-hand corner is a speaker which gives a warning if one of the parameters deviates from the allowable figures. The TGM program is in the task panel in the left. The utility also offers overclocking tools? but it's not just a bonus as it sets the core clock to 400 MHz instead of 380 MHz like all other RADEON 9800 PRO have.



TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB

The cooler consists of two heatsinks: one, placed  on top of the PCB, cools down the core and memory chips. The other, placed on the back, cools the memory there. Both sinks are made of aluminum alloy painted blue. The former has a powerful fan rotating at the frequency up to 5500 rpm.









When I removed the sinks I saw a lot of thermo grease on the chip:




It seems that the frame was filled up inside with the grease. After we removed the  traces of such waste :) we could see the chip itself:




Accessory pack.

TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB
User guide, TV extender, DVI-to-d-Sub, S-video-to-RCA adapters, external power supply splitter, drivers, utilities and WinDVD.




Package:

TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB

It's a usual cardboard box, but the card's clock speeds are written twice (unfortunately, few manufacturers write the clock speeds on boxes).






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 v6.378.

VSync off, S3TC off in applications. 

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:

TYAN TACHYON G9800Pro-M 128MB 1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz


Test results: performance

Since the ordinary RADEON 9800 PRO and TYAN's card do not differ much, it's not needed to test in all modes (AA and anisotropy). That is why the difference will be demonstrated only in the regular mode.

Conventional signs: ANISO 8xP - Anisotropic 8x Performance (earlier it was called Balanced), ANISO 8xQ - Anisotropic 8x Quality, ANISO 16xQ - Anisotropic 16x Quality.

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, ixbt0703 demo, 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 the test scenes) - DirectX 8.1, Dot3, cube texturing, shadow buffers, vertex and pixel shaders (1.1, 1.4).

If you need the demo benchmarks let me know by email. 

Quake3 Arena








An easy victory.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter









The higher the resolution, the stronger the leadership.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Multiplayer)









A little breakaway.

Code Creatures









The same.

Unreal Tournament 2003









The picture's identical.

Unreal II: The Awakening









The advantage of TYAN's card is even higher.

RightMark 3D









The scores are expected. The shader speed is the most important factor here.

Conclusion

This RADEON 9800 PRO based product has unique features: the increased card's clock speed with the TGM utility, and hardware monitoring. However, both features are interconnected: the hardware monitoring works only through the TGM utility, which automatically increases the core clock speed.

TYAN made a good product with a sufficient memory size of 128 MB and with the clock speeds being between the RADEON 9800 PRO and 9800 XT. The price will be the determining parameter. But we purposely compared this card with the GeForce FX 5900 instead of the 5900 Ultra, as TYAN's card is much cheaper than the 5900 Ultra.

In our 3Digest you can find full comparison characteristics for video cards of this and other classes.




Andrey Vorobiev  (anvakams@ixbt.com)


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