If the Radeon 9700 Pro didnít deliver a convincing victory over the GeForce FX the Radeon 9800 Pro sure does. The work that ATI has put towards perfecting the data compression and the AA and AF algorithms on the Radeon 9800 Pro has certainly paid off. Although some of you will criticize us for putting too much emphasis on image quality and things like AA and AF, please keep in mind that a few years ago 3dfx also had the best frame rates but no 32-bit color support, and we all know what happened to 3dfx. Today a video card, and especially one that costs up to $400, should not only deliver high frame rates but also offer a good combination of image quality and performance.
In summary the Radeon 9800 Pro is not the first of a new generation, like the GeForce FX was, but rather a more efficient Radeon 9700 Pro, running at a higher clockspeed. That this approach yields excellent results we can clearly see from the benchmarks. Furthermore, that this approach works can be seen from all of the different types and clockspeeds of GeForce and Radeon video cards weíve seen over the years; building on a successful architecture usually yields excellent results with minimal effort.
Letís see whether ATI is able to keep the performance lead throughout this quarter though, as Nvidia is working hard on getting their NV35 part out of the door. A part that also uses a 256-bit memory bus and corrects many of the mistakes Nvidia made with the GeForce FX. For now ATI is king of the hill, but donít expect Nvidia to not at least try to close the performance gap and if possible surprise us with a new and revamped GeForce FX. For now, kudos to ATI for building upon an already excellent product and perfecting it; the Radeon 9800 Pro simply is the fastest video card currently available.
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