ATI Radeon 9800
Review part 4
Radeon 9800 Benchmarks
Radeon and GeForce FX in hand, we've leapt into the lab for a spot of benchmarking to see how the new ATI GPU sizes up to NVvidia?s current top chip.
Intel Pentium 4 3.06GHz with HyperThreading sisabled
ASUSTek P4G8X Deluxe - Granite Bay (E7205) mobo (AGP 8X)
1GB Corsair XMS3200 DDR - 2x512MB DIMMS for dual-channel operation
Western Digital WD1200JB - 120.0GB, 8MB Cache, 7200RPM
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1
ATI Catalyst 3.1
Nvidia Detonator 42.72
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Reference (128MB)
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro Reference (128MB)
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5800 Ultra Reference (128MB)
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4800 Reference (128MB)
Sound disabled for all tests
While such a specification might seem slightly OTT for testing products which could ultimately be installed in systems much slower, the purpose of our selected platform is to reduce as much as possible the constraints put on the GPU from core logic, CPU and memory bandwidth across the system. Even at 1024x768 many of today's benchmarks have become CPU limited even at 3GHz.
Serious Sam, Elephants Atrium [Click for chart]
Unreal Tournament 2003 Flyby [Click for chart 1 and Click for chart 2]
Aquanox [Click for chart 1 and Click for chart 2]
CodeCult Codecreatures [Click for chart]
Benchmarked at 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 with two detail settings, 2xAA 0xAF (chart 1) and 2xAA 8xAF (chart 2)
In general terms, the game benchmarks are quite clear in their message: the 9800 is undoubtedly an improvement over the previous chip, but not by a great enough margin to currently catch up the FX in current DX8 tests. That could all of course change with the arrival of true DX9-class titles, only the likes of Doom III will be able to shed any true light on the matter.
Unless ATI can manage some major optimisations for the 9800 over coming weeks, before boards become available we're unlikely to be sold on their latest must-have technology. ®