A few months ago we looked at Nvidia’s latest, the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra, and we weren’t really impressed with it, as it was bested by ATI's Radeon 9700 Pro, a card which was then already six months old. In the past few months ATI has obviously not been sitting still and has been diligently working on their next video card; the Radeon 9800 Pro. The Radeon 9800 Pro will undoubtedly further increase ATI’ performance lead as by looking at the card’s specifications it is a good bit faster than the Radeon 9700 Pro.
Fig 1. The ATI Radeon 9800 Pro chipset utilizing the R350 core.
Don’t expect the Radeon 9800 Pro to work miracles though, it’s feature set and support for Microsoft’s DirectX 9.0 are similar to that of the Radeon 9700 Pro. In essence the Radeon 9800 Pro brings nothing new to the table other than a higher clockspeed and a few minor improvements. These improvements are all meant to give the Radeon 9800 Pro a significant boost in performance over the Radeon 9700 Pro and competing products. Simply put ATI has taken a good look at how the Radeon 9700 Pro makes use of it’s available memory bandwidth in relation to the data compression and other algorithms used, such as AA, Anti Aliasing and AF, Anisotropic Filtering. By further improving these data compression and other algorithms the Radeon 9800 Pro has become more efficient in terms of memory bandwidth use, thereby upping the performance.
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