In order to test the card we used a fairly standard spec machine for todays
gamers, that is a AMD XP1800+, ThermalTake Volcano 7 HSF, Gigabyte GA-7VRXP
Rev 1.1 Motherboard, 512MB Kingmax DDR333 Memory running Windows XP Professional
with Service Pack 1.
To get an idea of
how the Radeon 9000 Pro stack up with todays cards we also used an ATi
branded Radeon 8500LE and a Leadtek GeForce 4 MX440 card, all cards came
with 64MB DDR memory.
Three main gaming
benchmarks were used, the good old Quake 3 Arena demo, 3DMark 2001 SE
and finally one of the new games on the block (soon to be fully released)
Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo (which really puts your system to the test
as it requires alot of grunt).
The latest Catalyst
drivers where used for best results (the release at time of this review
was version 126.96.36.19966), this was used for both ATi based graphics cards.
For the nVidia GeForce 4 graphics card the latest Detonator drivers (version
30.82) was used.
3DMark 2001 SE:
These days everyone is interested in what 3DMark a graphics card can help
them achieve, so here is a comparison of all three cards. For better results
we tested the system both at stock CPU speed of 1.54GHz and then overclocked
to 1.61GHz to give you an idea of how much a faster CPU can influence
As you can see the
Radeon 9000 Pro is well ahead of the GeForce MX440, this is no surprise
as the MX series of GeForce cards are rather cut down in power (though
for the price, they are a decent budget card).
system produces an across the board increase of about 100-200 3DMarks,
this is rather interesting seeing as there is only a 70MHz CPU speed increase,
this means that all cards should do considerably better on a newer system
such as the AMD XP2600+ or Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz systems, which is of
the Radeon 8500LE came out on top, this was a bit of a shock as the LE
is the OEM version and only runs its memory and core and at a frequency
of 250MHz, where the 9000 Pro runs both at 275MHz by default.
Quake 3 Demo 001:
Being a high rated OpenGL game of the past Quake 3 is still a great indication
of the power of graphics cards, it also allows comparison with other system
specs on a level playing field. The following results were achieve using
the Quake 3 Arena demo version with map demo001 (sound disabled).
As you can see the
9000 Pro is a good 15-20 fps ahead of the GeForce 4 MX chip, and at lower
screen resolutions has similar results as the 8500LE.
Being the latest game on the market this is a rather good indication of
what to expect from a graphics card. Unreal Tournament 2003 is rather
resource hungry, so if a card runs this nicely then you can expect to
be able to run all the current games and hopefully some into the future
(lets face it, who knows what is around the corner).
TV-Out, Overclocking and Conclusion