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PowerColor ATI 9800

PowerColor ATI 9800 Article Author : Ian
Date : 12th Dec 2003
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Performance

After using the PowerColor 9800 for several weeks, in place of an old NVidia GeForce 4 MX440 and Ti4600, the difference can really be noticed. The benchmarks on the previous page do not show the full scale of difference that the 9800 offers, which would be true of any next generation graphics card over its predecessor.

One of the main differences between the 9800 (and even 9700 and GeForce FX) series cards over older graphics cards from the past year, is that they are fully DX9 compliant. This will make a huge difference when games are released in the coming months, as they will quite simply look a lot better with these advanced rendering features.

The best example showing this improvement is in 3DMark 2003, which although can give controversial benchmarking results, does demonstrate DX9 graphics capabilities extremely well. Older cards, which although top of the range last year (such as the Ti4600 and 8500 series), will simply not give you the best looking graphics available - even though they may run at a faster FPS (which is still unlikely).

A crucial game which many gamers will want to be able to play at high detail is Half Life 2, which will be highly optimised for DX9. As this game takes full advantage of the latest pixel shader technologies, older DX8.1 graphics cards would have to run this game without many of the stunning effects visible in game.

In relation to 2D performance, this card is on a par with any of the latest high end graphics cards. Any specialised 2D work, or special monitor set-ups may require an alternative graphics solution from another manufacturer, as this is primarily designed as a high end gamers card.

Conclusion

Although the 9800 card (and in fact the whole 9800 series in general) has been available for a few months, there is no card which can truly rival the 9800 series in performance. The top of the range variant in the 9800 series, the 9800 XT should perform reasonably faster in games, followed by the Pro variant - both of these cards have the same extensive feature set. There is also a 'lite' version of the 9800 graphics card, the 9800SE, which has the same feature set but only half the number of rendering pipelines.

The 9800 has proven its worth many times as an excellent graphics solution for gamers, and this PowerColor braded board is no different. This board retails for around 30-50 less than some Pro variants of the board, which makes this an excellent buy for those users wanted the latest features with excellent performance, but wish to save a little more money. This is a very complete package that can provide a top-notch gaming solution, even if the games bundle is a little lacking.




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