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  Radeon 9700 Pro, ATi Flexes Some Muscle 
  Oct 11, 2002, 07:30am EDT 


By: Dan Mepham

It was important from a publicity perspective for ATi to come out with the best showing possible. And the company has accomplished that nicely. The Radeon 9700 Pro is, without question, the fastest video card on the market right now. ATi has demonstrated to the market that it is capable both of engineering and of manufacturing a product offering superior performance to any of its competitors.

That, however, is only half the battle. Having the fastest graphics accelerator on the market is certainly an impressive feat, but that alone isn’t enough to guarantee prosperity. Extremely high-end parts such as the Radeon 9700 Pro represent only a very minimal portion of the overall market. Granted, profit margins on such high-end parts are certainly greater than on less expensive products, however the lack of volume at the top of the market makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a company to subsist on that segment alone. Consider how difficult it would be for Intel to satisfy its investors if it sold only 2.80 GHz processors.

No, ATi needs to not only offer the fastest accelerator on the market, but to offer a complete range of high performance products throughout all price points. ATi needs to deliver product in the $100, $150, and $200 ranges, as well as its top of the line, $350 product.

We’re certainly impressed with the Radeon 9700 Pro. ATi has flexed its muscle, as it were, and has soundly demonstrated its engineering and production abilities. The Radeon 9700 Pro is the fastest and most advanced graphics accelerator on the market, with no exceptions.

There's only one thing that could hold it back significantly, as evident from our benchmarks, and that's a system that's not performance matched to the Radeon 9700 Pro. Don't expect the 9700 Pro to work miracles with your old 1GHz Pentium III, it needs at least a 1.8GHz Pentium 4 or a 1600+ Athlon XP to perform as advertised.

However muscle flexing is just enough to make the market take notice. What we need to see now is a full range of equally well performing parts from ATi. Fortunately that should be just around the corner, as ATi delivers its Radeon 9500 series. As a $150-200 Radeon 9500 is what’s really necessary to take the market by storm.

Dan Mepham

1. Introduction
2. R300, A Basic Overview
3. R300 Overview Continued
4. The Card
5. The Drivers
6. Test Disclosure
7. Performance - Antialiasing
8. Performance - Antialiasing Cont'd
9. Performance - Scaling
10. Performance - Anisotropic Filtering & Professional
11. Summary

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