ATI Radeon 9000 & 9700 Preview

Author: Neumann Lim
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, July 22nd, 2002
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Previews/rv300/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

With the introduction of Radeon 9700 (R300) and Radeon 9000 (RV250), ATI finally manages to exceed what nVidia has to offer at least on paper. nVidia's successful attempts to block ATI from the crown with its GeForce 4 Ti series and its superior Detonator4 drivers has put ATI on the defensive. However, with the upcoming release of Radeon 9700, it is a contest of who will sit quite comfortably on the throne.

The real kicker is that the Radeon 9000 Pro is being priced at $129 USD and fully compatible with DirectX 8.1. Radeon 9000 Pro poses serious threats to nVidia in the sub-$150 market. Radeon 9700 will feature full compatibility with DirectX 9. Unless nVidia switches to the new DirectX standards we could be looking at a new king.

Let’s look at some of the features that are expected to be in the 9000 and 9700.

 

Radeon 9000 Pro

Radeon 9700

Manufacturing Process

0.15u

0.15u

Core Speed

275MHz

325MHz ?

Memory Speed

550MHz DDR

650MHz DDR ?

Memory Bandwidth

8.8GB/sec

20GB/sec

Memory Type

128bit DDR

256bit DDR

Peak Pixel Fill Rate

1100 Mpixels/sec

2600Mpixels/sec

Rendering Pipelines

4

8

Maximum Textures Applied per Pass

6

16

Texture Units per Pipeline

1

1

Vertex Shader

1.1

2.0

(Technical data retrieved from http://www.ati.com/developer/prodinfo.html)

RADEON 9700

RADEON 9700 is the world's fastest and most advanced graphics board to date, featuring ATI's RADEON 9700 Visual Processing Unit (VPU). Through a combination of incredible 3D rendering performance, sophisticated real-time visual effects, unsurpassed image quality and cutting-edge video features, it takes the PC entertainment experience to a totally new level.

Specifications

System Requirements

§        Intel Pentium 4/III/II/Celeron, AMD K6/Duron/Athlon/Athlon XP or compatible with AGP 2X (3.3v), 4X (1.5V), 8X (0.8v) or Universal AGP 3.0 bus configuration (2X/4X/8X).

§        128MB of system memory

§        Installation software requires CD-ROM drive

§        DVD playback requires DVD drive

Graphics Technology

§        RADEON 9700 Visual Processing Unit (VPU)

Memory Configuration

§        128MB of double data rate SDRAM

Operating Systems Support

§        Windows XP

§        Windows 2000

§        Windows Me

Display Support

§        VGA connector for analog CRT

§        S-video or composite connector for TV / VCR

§        DVI-I connector for digital CRT or flat panel

§        Independent resolutions and refresh rates for any two connected displays

Features

§        Eight parallel rendering pipelines

§        Four parallel geometry engines

§        256-bit DDR memory interface

§        AGP 8X support

§        SMARTSHADER 2.0

§        Programmable pixel and vertex shaders

§        16 textures per pass

§        Pixel shaders up to 160 instructions with 128-bit floating point precision

§        Vertex shaders up to 1024 instructions with flow control

§        Multiple render target support

§        Shadow volume rendering acceleration

§        High precision 10-bit per channel frame buffer support

§        Supports DirectX 9.0 and the latest version of OpenGL

§        SMOOTHVISION 2.0

§        2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes

§        Adaptive algorithm with programmable sample patterns

§        2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes

§        Adaptive algorithm with bi-linear (performance) and tri-linear (quality) options

§        HYPER Z III

§        3-level Hierarchical Z-Buffer with early Z test

§        Lossless Z-Buffer compression (up to 24:1)

§        Fast Z-Buffer Clear

§        TRUFORM 2.0

§        2nd generation N-Patch higher order surface support

§        Discrete and continuous tessellation levels per polygon

§        Displacement mapping

§        VIDEOSHADER

§        Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video

§        FULLSTREAM video de-blocking technology

§        Noise removal filtering for captured video

§        MPEG-2 decoding with motion compensation, iDCT and color space conversion

§        All-format DTV/HDTV decoding

§        YPrPb component output

§        Adaptive de-interlacing and frame rate conversion

§        Dual integrated display controllers

§        Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs

§        Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI & HDCP compliant)

§        Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution

§        Optimized for Pentium 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon 3Dnow!

§        PC 2002 compliant

Warranty

§        3-year limited warranty

 

Mode Tables

2D DISPLAY MODES
Resolutions, colors and maximum refresh rates (Hz) in 256, 65K or 16.7M colors

Monitor Resolution

Hz

640x480

200

800x600

200

1024x768

200

1152x864

200

1280x1024

160

1600x1200

120

1920x1080* 16:9

120

1920x1200

100

1920x1440

90

2048x1536

85


*16:9 aspect ratio monitors are supported on 1920x1080 and 848x480 on Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Winpows ME. The complete list of resolutions depends on the driver version and operating system. NOTE: that resolutions are limited by the performance of the attatched monitor.

MAXIMUM 3D RESOLUTIONS
  (with 128MB Frame Buffer)

65K colors

2048x1536

16.7M colors

2048x1536

Radeon 9700 Die

You can expect to see the Radeon 9700 die in the 0.15u process. This die will feature an estimated 100+ million transistors and that’s compared to the Parhelia at 80 million transistors! ATI seems to going for a core clock speed of at least 300MHz but that is still yet to be finalized and we might see even higher speeds. In terms of power drain, I can guarantee this baby is going to being sucking a lot of power so be prepared to use a 350W power supply to power all your computing peripherals.

Radeon 9700 AGP 8x

ATI has been boasting about full compatibility with AGP 8x so its no surprise to see that the Radeon 9700 will feature this. The significance is that vertex transfers take place at a speed of 2.0GB/sec instead of the older AGP 4x at 1.0GB/sec.

Radeon 9700 Memory

The Radeon 9700 will sport 256bit DDR. This will offer a memory bandwidth of about 20GB/sec (based on the calculation: 256/8 x 2 x 325). The Radeon 9700 will also feature a 4 channel 64bit memory controller, allowing 4 separate transfers to take place at once. The maximum memory size is 256MB of DDR or DDR2.

Featuring a revolutionary Quad-pipe architecture and 64MB of memory, RADEON 9000 PRO provides best-of-class* performance to accelerate all popular 3D applications. Four parallel, highly optimized rendering pipelines, typically available only for the high-end gaming cards, significantly enhance performance and game-play responsiveness when compared to the standard 2-pipeline architectures found in most mid-range products.

Mode Tables
2D DISPLAY MODES

Resolutions, colors and maximum refresh rates (Hz) in 256, 65K or 16.7M colors

Monitor Resolution

Hz

640x480

200

800x600

200

1024x768

200

1152x864

200

1280x1024

160

1600x1200

120

1920x1080* 16:9

120

1920x1200

100

1920x1440

90

2048x1536

85

*16:9 aspect ratio monitors are supported on 1920x1080 and 848x480 on Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Winpows ME. The complete list of resolutions depends on the driver version and operating system. NOTE: that resolutions are limited by the performance of the attatched monitor.

MAXIMUM 3D RESOLUTIONS

65K colors

2048x1536

16.7M colors

2048x1536

Radeon 9000 Technology

The Radeon 9000 comes in the 0.15u process with a core clock speed of 275MHz. The real kicker with the 9000 is that it is based on 8500 technology but it is fully DirectX 8.1 compatible at USD$100 less in price!

Radeon 9000 Pro

Radeon 9000

Radeon 8500

Manufacturing Process

0.15u

0.15u

0.15u

Core Speed

275MHz

250MHz

275MHz ?

Memory Speed

550MHz DDR

400MHz DDR

550MHz DDR ?

Memory Bandwidth

8.8GB/sec

6.4GB/sec

8.8GB/sec

Memory Type

128bit DDR

128bit DDR

128bit DDR

Rendering Pipelines

4

4

4

Maximum Textures Applied per Pass

6

6

3

Texture Units per Pipeline

1

1

1

Vertex Shader

1.1

1.1

1.1

Pixel Shader

1.4

1.4

1.4

RAMDAC

2 x 400MHz

2 x 400MHz

2 x 400MHz

The major difference between the 9000 Pro and the 8500 is that the 9000 has four pixel pipelines that can only calculate 1 texture per cycle instead of 2. However, the 9000 had an increase in the number of textures that comprise the end pixel from three to six to compensate for the weaker multi-texturing performance! This just means that the 9000 will perform poorly in gaming scenarios that require heavy texturing.

Conclusion

The Radeon 9000 series is a GeForce 4 MX replacement. As a gamer, I wouldn’t hold out for it. On the other hand, the Radeon 9700 is something to behold with full 8x AGP and DirectX 9 compatibility, 256bit DDR, 20GB/sec memory bandwidth, Vertex/Pixel Shader 2.0, Hyper Z III and a maximum 256MB card… I’m already drooling.

»Neoseeker.com

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