ATI today announced its new Radeon 9000 Pro and Radeon 9700 graphics cards, which are due later this summer and early fall, respectively. The company claims the new cards will offer "twice the graphics power and performance than any other chip on the market." The Radeon 9000 Pro Mac Edition will offer 64MB of DDR memory and dual-digital display (both ADC and DVI-I) and a new quad-pipeline 3D architecture. The Radeon 9700 will offer 128MB of DDR RAM and eight parallel rendering pipelines and floating-point color precision. Pricing was not available.
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ATi Radeon 9000 (RV250) and 9700 (R300) unveiled
Posted 7/18/2002 - 11:20AM, by Caesar
ATi has lifted the NDA on two new offerings bearing the Radeon moniker, the 9000 and the 9700. The Radeon 9000 has been reviewed by Tom and Anand, and would you have ever guessed that the duo would also have reviews of the 9700 (Tom und Anand)? Oh what a difference that little number ´7´ makes. The 9700 is essentially a new product, and an expensive one at that. Weighing in at $399, this card is looking to topple the best from NVIDIA, and today, it does. In 60 days, it may not--but ah the pleasure of spending $399 to be king in your ´hood, even if for a fortnight or two. Jesting aside, ATi has clearly done something special here. It´s boring to rehash all the benchmarks (you can read ´em yourself), but let me just note that in Anand´s Unreal Tournament 2003 DM-Antalus tests, the Radeon 9700 beat the GF4 Ti4600 by 38% at 1024x768x32 and 48% percent 1280x1024x32. What if you want more?
"Finally, at 1600x1200 the Radeon 9700 can play Unreal Tournament 2003 at the highest detail settings just fine; the R300 manages to outperform the fastest GeForce4 by an incredible 54%."
Folks, this is getting good in that eerie, suspenseful, capitalistic way. The 9700 is a major relief because, let´s face it, we all know that NV30 is going to kick serious bee-hind, and unless ATi could pull something remarkable off, this flight of fancy could be over. If the NV30 doesn´t actually show its face in stores until 2003, ATi may get dents in its head from this heavy crown.
The 9000 (in regular and Pro flavors), on the other hand, doesn´t impress us as much, but since it´s aimed at the circa ~$120´s range, we´ve got to consider it as ATi nipping at NVIDIA´s econo-class. While Anand touts it as the "The GeForce4 MX Killer," killer should be replaced with "bullymeister" or "kinda mean kid next door." The 9000 Pro does outperform the GF4 MX in certain apps, but not in all (it does take UT 2003, which I find the most significant). Oddly, it under performs the already extant Radeon 8500 128MB at times, but when you put it to task, it usually comes out ahead. For ATi, the success of the 9000 will likely be determined by OEM acceptance. Since the GF4 MX is most popular in that market, that´s who they´re going to court. But with the Radeon 9000 costing a mere $109, and its big brother, the 9000 Pro being only $20 more, this card is destined for the Budget Box, I´d say.