Yesterday was crazy, at around noon FedEx stopped by to deliver our Radeon 8500 straight from Toronto, Canada. And they were scheduled to pick it up again before 4 Ďo clock in the afternoon so we had to pull all stops to get the board up and running, the OS installed and the benchmarks done before then. As you can see we managed to pull it off although I must say Iíve never before done a (p)review in such a short span of time. Our gratitude goes out to the engineers at ATi that sent us the sample board, as marketing only handed samples out to Anand, Tom and Gamespot.
Although I respect their decision I canít help but wonder whether these sites all used the same press kit as they more or less all tell the same story and look at the features in the same light. Naturally I have nothing but respect for the work that some have put into their benchmarking, especially Anand goes the usual extra mile to paint a clear picture of what is going on. I just wish I had been given a press kit, we had to go by the datasheets and some preliminary Powerpoint presentations about the technology behind the Radeon that was given to us by the nice folks at ATi.
Never the less the new Radeon has made a sound impression on us, and we expect it to do real well once the product and its drivers are finalized somewhere in September. We just hope that ATi has their act together this time and does offer the needed driver updates and support, else weíll be looking at a similar face-off as with the original Radeon and the GeForce2 GTS, and we all know who won that one.
Another interesting product was introduced today, Viaís Pentium 4 DDR chipset. Unfortunately we were unable to get a sample, but by the looks of it the P4X266 chipset packs a mean punch and does indeed offer strong competition for Intelís i845 chipset thatís still crippled to use SDRAM instead of DDR. However to us the real question is not the performance, but rather the legal implications of the release of this chipset. Will the P4X266 be another Via 693A? Which at the time of the Pentium III Coppermine launch was the only chipset officially able to run these new CPUs, as the i820 was delayed. Weíll have to see how this situation develops, it could be that Intel themselves couldnít care less, but that their legal bounds with Rambus might force them to take action, as the Pentium 4 was supposed to be RDRAM only until 2002.