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Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit,
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II
Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB
Video Cards (ATI RADEON 9200/9600/9600 PRO/9700 PRO/9800 PRO)

June 14, 2003






CONTENTS

  1. Video cards' features
  2. Testbed configuration, test tools, 2D quality
  3. Comparison of the cards' performance
  4. Conclusion

As you know, Sapphire Technologies is actually the first partner of ATI Technologies because Sapphire itself is a branch establishment of PC Partner concern at the facilities of which video cards based on various ATI chips have been produced for several years already. In particular, the graphics cards that ATI sells under its own brand are produced at PC Partner's factories in China. 

It means that the build quality of Sapphire's cards is very high. Of course, there can be problems but they happen very seldom. Sapphire, in contrast to other ATI's partners, possesses the widest range of video cards with different memory sizes and clock speeds. Unfortunately, many cards sell like a pig in a poke, when users are not even aware of the frequencies of the cards they buy. Sapphire likes to play with frequencies! 

Besides, the company offers many products of its own design (not just of ATI's reference one). It may easily confuse users, and here you can find a list of products with their P/N indicated so that it could be easier to find what you need.

The company keeps on extending its sphere of activity. Thus, this trade mark is getting popular and Russia, and Sapphire opened its representative office in Moscow. Dealers willingly work with this company thanks to high quality and affordable prices of its products.

Today we are going to test a new Sapphire cohort from High-End to Low-End solutions. As to RADEON 9700-9800 based cards, have a look at the previous reviews where you can find all necessary information.

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

The test results of the All-In-Wonder 9700 PRO card won't be shown below because it runs as fast as the ordinary RADEON 9700 PRO, and the multimedia functions were already described by Aleksei Samsonov. Here we will see whether Sapphire's product has any differences.

Note that it's the first time we are dealing with a 256MB card based on the RADEON 9800 PRO!

Cards

Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II


Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB



 
 
 
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 64 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 4 chips on both PCB sides.

A-Data memory chips (BGA) of 4ns access time which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz. Memory works at 200 (400) MHz. GPU at 250 MHz. 64bit(!!!) memory bus, but it's not indicated either on the box or at the manufacturer's site. The card houses 64 MB because half of the memory chips are removed (you can see free space there), each chip has 16 bits, which results to 64 bits.




Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides.

A-Data memory chips (BGA) of 5ns access time, which corresponds to 200 (400) MHz. Memory works at 200 (400) MHz. GPU at 250 MHz. 128bit memory bus.




Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides.

Hynix memory chips (BGA) of 4ns access time, which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz. Memory works at 200 (400) MHz. GPU at 325 MHz. 128bit memory bus.




Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides.

One of the two cards have Samsung (BGA) memory chips, the other - EtronTech ones. All the chips have 2.8ns access time which corresponds to 350 (700) MHz. Memory works at 300 (600) MHz. GPU at 400 MHz. 128bit memory bus.







Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides.

Samsung memory chips (BGA) of 2.8ns access time, which corresponds to 350 (700) MHz. Memory works at 340 (680) MHz. GPU at 380 MHz. 256bit memory bus.




Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 256 MB GDDR2 SDRAM memory in 16 chips on both PCB sides.

Samsung K4N26323AE-GC22 memory chips (BGA) of 2.2ns access time. The maximum clock speed is  which corresponds to 450 (900) MHz. Memory works at 350 (700) MHz. GPU at 380 MHz. In spite of so great potential, the memory clock speed is not so high. Probably, they decided to set 350 MHz to prevent overheating without using massive coolers and a more complicated PCB design (in that case it makes no sense because DDR 2.8ns is able to work at the same frequency!).




Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM memory in 8 chips on both PCB sides.

Samsung memory chips (BGA) of 2.8ns access time which corresponds to 350 (700) MHz. Memory works at 310 (620) MHz. GPU at 325 MHz. 256bit memory bus.





 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, front view
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit Reference card ATI RADEON 9200






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB 



Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9600






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9600 PRO






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB









Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB







 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, back view
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit Reference card ATI RADEON 9200






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB 



Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9600






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9600 PRO






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB






Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II Reference card ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB






Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB







 
 
 

The 64MB RADEON 9200 card stands apart since it is based on its own design. Note that it has a 64bit bus, and has no multimonitor support (only one head).

The other cards are copies of the reference one. The 256MB RADEON 9800 PRO has only twice more memory chips as compared to the 128MB solution. Taking into account that the DDR2 memory heats much, each chip has a heatsink attached.

Sapphire's All-In-Wonder 9700 PRO is actually the same reference solution.

Here are the coolers.
 
 
 

Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit, Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB, Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB
The processor is equipped with a simple aluminum heatsink.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
This is an ordinary active cooler clipped to the processor.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB, Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II
The same cooler as on the reference card. Probably, Sapphire hasn't developed its own design yet.





Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB
Black reference cooler which we are used to already.



 
 
 

Now have a look at some of the processors:
 

Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II










This is the R350 with a simple mirror base.
 
 

Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600, Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO




And this is the RV350. The package is the same FCPGA, but the chip is very small. It's interesting that the RADEON 9600 has a heatsink stuck right to the little die:




If I were the developer I'd be more careful - such a fragile die can be easily damaged because some users hold the cards by coolers.

Take a gander at what's there in the boxes: 
 

Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit 
Only a CD with drivers and utilities. -
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB 
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, PowerDVD, Sapphire RedLine Tweaker; S-video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, PowerDVD, Sapphire RedLine Tweaker; S-video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, RCA and S-Video extenders.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
The same, plus Soldier of Fortune 2 game.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, PowerDVD, Sapphire RedLine Tweaker; Soldier of Fortune-2 and RtCW games; S-video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, RCA and S-Video extenders.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, PowerDVD; S-video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, RCA and S-Video extenders.


Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB
User Guides, CD with drivers and utilities, Pinnacle Studio, Sapphire RedLine Tweaker; Soldier of Fortune-2 and RtCW games; S-video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters, RCA and S-Video extenders, adapters and splitters for multimedia functions, external power supply, Remote Control with a receiver and batteries.



 
 
 
All cards ship in retail packages. 


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit 
The boxes have a similar design.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB 
They just differ in colors and writings.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB
The main picture is the same on all boxes of the series.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB
The difference is in colors. There can be cards with the FireBlade sticker (the photo below). This card is for overclockers; the memory reliably works at the clock speed 30 MHz higher than the default one; use the Sapphire's tweaker for overclocking it.





Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB
Except High-End products of the unique reference design of the packages.


Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II
Bulk package -
Sapphire Atlantis All-in-Wonder 9700 PRO 128MB
The box demonstrates an octopus, a symbol of abundance of functions.



 
 
 

Here is the FireBlade sticker which you can see on the boxes with RADEON 9600 PRO cards:




Overclocking


 
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 64MB 64bit, Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9200 128MB  Overclocking impossible.
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 128MB 325/400 -> 400/540 MHz
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9600 PRO 128MB 400/600 -> 540/700 MHz
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 128MB 380/680 -> 430/760 MHz
Sapphire Atlantis RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB DDR-II 380/700 -> 440/760 MHz

Note that:

  • Overclocking requires additional card cooling (for its memory, in particular): 



  • Overclocking depends on a certain sample, and you shouldn't extend single-card results to the entire series or trade mark. Overclocking results are not obligatory characteristics of video cards. 

Testbed and drivers

Testbed: 

  • Pentium 4 3066 MHz based computer:
    • Intel Pentium 4 3066 MHz;
    • ASUS P4G8X (iE7205) mainboard; 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB; 
    • Windows XP SP1; DirectX 9.0;
    • ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21") monitor.
    • NVIDIA drivers v43.51.

VSync off in drivers, S3TC off in applications. 

As I mentioned above, Sapphire ships its tweaking utility which, in particular, can help overclock cards:






















The design reminds me the RadeonTweak. Maybe, the company bought the rights, or the author distributes the program under the Sapphire RedLine brand name.

Aleksei Nikolaichuk has already included all latest ATI video cards into its RivaTuner utility. In particular, it correctly defines the memory bus of the RADEON 9200 64MB:




[ Read next: Test results
 
 

Andrew Worobiew (anvakams@ixbt.com)
 

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