ATI decided the time has come to gun for the top. And with the ATI Radeon graphics board, the company comes close to getting there, challenging both nVidia and 3dfx for top-dog position. The Radeon is ATI’s first chip with accelerated transform and lighting (T&L). According to ATI, its Charisma engine can process 30 million polygons a second. The Radeon’s twin rendering pipelines can each process one pixel per cycle, but both can also process three textures per pixel. The default clock rate on the 64MB card is 183 MHz, so the Radeon’s peak fill rate is 366 megapixels per second, but its peak texture fill rate is a bit over 1 gigatexel per second. The 32MB card, which comes with either SDRAM or DDR SDRAM, clocks in at 166 MHz, so its peak pixel fill rate is 333 megapixels per second, and its peak texture fill rate is about 996 megatexels per second. Though the Radeon chip’s specs for pixel fill rate would seem to put the chip squarely behind the GeForce2 GTS-based ELSA Gladiac (800 megapixels per second) and the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 AGP card (667 megapixels per second), the Radeon’s strong performance at high resolutions made up for these differences. We believe that ATI’s Hyper Z technology, which reduces the amount of memory bandwidth required for z-buffer accesses, contributes to the high performance. The 64MB Radeon card features ATI’s Rage Theatre chip, which enables MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video capture. The only shortfall with the Radeon is its full-scene anti-aliasing, which left most games we tested nearly unplayable. But the ATI Radeon is a solid 3-D performer that packs many cool video features. System requirements: Pentium® III/II/Celeron, AMD K6®/Athlon or compatible with AGP 2X or AGP 2X/4X universal slot. Warranty: 5-year limited warranty on retail 2-year limited warranty on multipack You will need at least Windows 98 to use the Radeon so it will not wo
rk under windows 95. Display Support: -Register compatible with VGA -BIOS compatible with VESA for super VGA -DDC1/2b/2b+ monitor support -VESA Display Power Management Support -Separate horiz & vert sync at TTL levels The following 3D acceleration features are available with this card: -Charisma Engine -Pixel Tapestry architecture -Integrated Transformation, Clipping. -Twin Cache Architecture -Texture Cache -Superscalar Rendering -Single-Pass Multi-texturing -True Color Rendering -Triangle Setup Engine -Bilinear/Trilinear Filtering -Line & Edge Anti-aliasing -Full screen Anti-aliasing -Texture Compositing -Texture Decompression -Specular Highlights -Perspectively Correct Texture Mapping -Mip-Mapping -Z-buffering and Double-buffering -Hierarchial Z-buffer -Emboss, Dot Product 3 and Environment bump mapping -Spherical, Dual-Paraboloid and Cubic environment mapping -Fog effects, texture lighting, video textures, reflections, shadows, spotlights, LOD biasing and texture mapping. All these features sound very good and they are. The Radeon has the most complete implementation of the DirectX feature set.It supports more features of DirectX 8.0 than any other graphics board on the market. It also has instant superior 3D game support right out of the box with full acceleration for today's hottest 3D games. This is all good news for gamers which is why this card is good for them. It also has the best dvd playback as its HDTV ready, processes full-frame rate, full-screen DVD or MPEG-2 video, and it has integrated iDCT and motion compensation allows for DVD decoding with minimum CPU usage. But the best thing for DVD is that it saves the expense of buying a separate MPEG-2/DVD decoder card. I would say to all gamers to buy this card quickly and to everyone else. <
The Radeon 64MB DDR is a superb graphics card for playing games and just for quality of videos and monitor viewing. It has an impressive frames per second rate and texture mapping is one of its best features. If you play games such as Fifa 2001 at a resolution of 1024x768 the field looks suprisingly realistic and i was amazed at how detailed it was. But if you are intending to buy a graphics card for more professional usage, you might want to look else where although this card is still good more professional use. The only bad thing is the cost may be slightly too expensive. Overall an excellent card which has superb features for gamers.
The Radeon has been a brilliant addition to ATI's lineup, equalling the performance of the current joint top GPU, the GeForce 2 GTS. The good thing about the ATI lineup is it's release of both 32 and 64 Mb versions and the fact that both are significantly good value, a lot cheaper than the GeForce 2 solutions. The 32 Mb version is costing only around 175-00 now and this represents good value compared to the other high end graphics chips. I have seen one of these in action and I have also seen the benchmarks and these are brilliantly good cards. They really are neck and neck with the GeForce 2 GTS offerings and yet the GeForce 2 is a lot more expensive. This is probably Nvidia gaining from the success of the GeForce 256 card. Don't be put off by the fact that this card only has 32 Mb of memory, this is still enough for today's applications remembering that 32 Mb is still industry standard and the fact that we've not long seen the introduction of the 64 Mb card. However we must remember that the purchase of the 64 Mb version will provide more in the way of future proofing the purchase. Read my review of the 64 Mb version to find out my opinions of that card. The 32 Mb version of the excellent Radeon chipset will provide more than enough power for today's games an for only 175-00, this is a very shrewd buy. However, don't forget that for another 50-00 you can get your hands on the 64 Mb version and for another 60-00 you can get the 64 Mb ViVo (Video in, video out), providing more in the way of future proofing your machine.
The 32Mb version of ATi's high-end 3D graphics card is slightly slower than the 64Mb version both in memory speed and in clock speed, but not by much. I think this card is purposely slowed down in order to create a card for the next step down of graphics cards. There are lots of reasons for buying the 64Mb DDR in terms of performance and getting "the most" out of the Radeon, my review on the 64Mb version is here; http://www.epinions.com/./cmd-review-14C5-A294449-39BFB392-prod1 However there is one big reason for buying the 32Mb version and that is the price, you can expect to pay anything up to $100 less than the 64Mb version. Personally I don’t think that the performance loss is that great and would choose this card over the expensive 64Mb. This is the Radeon to go for unless you absolutely must have the best of everything and wont settle for anything less. The 32Mb version still has the features of the 64Mb version such as; Hardware T&L (texture and Lighting) Games are starting to support this now and will relieve some of the processing from the CPU FSAA (Full Screen Anti-Aliasing) this is the process in which the rough edges of graphics are smoothed out to create a crisper image. DVD hardware assist Decoding DVD playback is easier with the Radeon's hardware assist. The basis of the card is still the same and is a highly recommended product by myself. It supports AGP 2x/4x. On the performance front the Radeon is up in the class of the Voodoo 5500 and the Geforce 2. You will find many benchmarks between these 3 cards and you will also find that they will all have their strengths.