Introduction

Today we herald the release of the new ATI graphics solution. Though the R420 is still based on DX9's PS2.0, performance numbers look to be on par with what we would expect from a company who has lead the industry in performance for nearly two years. The two new board configurations based on R420 at which we will be looking today are the Radeon X800 Pro, and the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition. The Radeon X800 Pro is shipping today, but the XT Platinum Edition won't make it out the door until later this month (ATI cites May 21st as the shipping date).

We were skeptical, when the GeForce 6800 Ultra was thrust into the spotlight, that ATI would be able to keep up with their toughest competitor. From the first briefing we had regarding the R420 GPU, we knew it would be an intense fight. Both the NV40 and R420 architectures are very sound and well founded, and the next six months will be a very good time for consumers of computer technology. But before we start handing out the nominations for happiest customer, let's take a look at the new kid on the block.

The Chip
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  • NullSubroutine - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    Trog I agree with you for the most part, but there are some people who can use upgrades. I myself have bought expensive video cards in the past. I got the Geforce3 right when it came out (in top of the line alienware system for 1400 bucks), and it lasted me for 2-3 years. Now if someone spends 400-500 bucks on a video card that lasts them that long (2-3 years) its no different than if someone buys a 200 buck video card every year. I am one of those people who likes to buy new compoents when computing speed doubles and if I have the money I'll get what I can that will last me the longest. If I cant afford top of the line Ill get something that will get me by (9500pro last card I bought for 170 over a year ago).

    However I do agree with you that people who upgrade to the best every generation is silly.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    I'm sorry, but I simply have to laugh at anyone going on and on about how they're going to run out and buy the latest graphics cards from ATI or Nvidia right now. $400 to $500 for a graphics card is simply too much (and it's too much for a CPU as well). Besides, unless you have some dementia that requires you to run all games at 1600x1200 with 4xAA and 8xAF, there's very little need for either the 6800 Ultra or the X800 XT right now. Relax, take a deep breath, save some money, and forget about the pissing contest.

    So, is it just me, or is there an inverse relationship between a person's cost of computer hardware and their actual knowledge of computers? I have a coworker that is always spending money on upgrading his PC, and he really has no idea what he's doing. He went from an Athlon XP 2800+ (OC'ed to 2.4 GHz) to a P4 2.8 OC'ed to 3.7 GHz. He also went from a 9800 Pro 256 to a 9800 XT. In the past, he also had a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. He tries to overclock all of his systems, they sound like a jet engine, and none of them are actually fully stable. In the last year, he has spent roughly $5000 on computer parts (although he has sold off some of the "old" parts like the 5900 Ultra). Performance of his system has probably improved by about 25% over the course of the year.

    Sorry for the rant, but behavior like that from *anybody* is just plain stupid. He's gone from 120 FPS in some games up to 150 FPS. Anyone here actually think he can tell the difference? I suppose it goes without saying that he's constantly crowing about his 3DMark scores. Now he's all hot to go out and buy the X800 XT cards, and he's been asking me when they'll be in stores. Like I care. They're nice cards, I'm sure, but why buy them before you actually have a game that needs the added performance?

    His current games du joir? Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield Vietnam. Yeah... those really need a high performance DX9 card. The 80+ FPS of the 9800 XT he has just isn't cutting it.

    So, if you read my description of this guy and think I'm way off base, go get your head examined. Save your money, because some day down the road you will be glad that you didn't spend everything you earned on computer parts. Enjoy life, sure, but having a faster car, faster computer, bigger house, etc. than someone else is worth pretty much jack and shit when it all comes down to it.

    /Rant. :D
    Reply
  • a2y - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    If a card is going to come up every few weeks then how do you guys choose which to buy?

    ATI have the trade-up section for old cards, is that any good?
    Reply
  • gxshockwav - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    Um...what happened to the posting of new Ge6 6850 benchmark numbers? Reply
  • NullSubroutine - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    Trog, its good to hear you were being nice, but I wasnt bashing THG, I love that site (besides this one) and I get alot of my tech info from there.

    What I normally do though is I take benchmarks from different sites then put them in Excel, make a little graph and see the % point differences between the tests. If you plan on buying a new vid card its important to find out if the Nvida or ATi card is faster on your type of system.

    And from what I found is that the AMD system from Atech performed better with Nvidia, and Intel system peformed better with ATi from THG (for Farcry and Unreal2004 only ones to be somewhat similar tests).

    #61 How much money did ATi spend when developing the R3xx line? I would venture to say a decent amount...somtimes companies invest more money in a design then refine it several times (at less cost) before starting from scratch again. ATi and Nvidia has done this for quite awhile. Also from what Ive heard the r3xx had the possibilty of 16 pipes to begin with..this true anyone?

    Texture memory about 256 doesnt really matter now b/c of the insane bandwidth the 8x apg has to offer, however one might see that 512 may come in handy after Doom3 comes out since they use shitloads of high res textures instead of high polygons for alot of detail. I dont see 512 coming out for a little while, espescially with ram prices.
    Reply
  • NullSubroutine - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    Trog, its good to hear you were being nice, but I wasnt bashing THG, I love that site (besides this one) and I get alot of my tech info from there.

    What I normally do though is I take benchmarks from different sites then put them in Excel, make a little graph and see the % point differences between the tests. If you plan on buying a new vid card its important to find out if the Nvida or ATi card is faster on your type of system.

    And from what I found is that the AMD system from Atech performed better with Nvidia, and Intel system peformed better with ATi from THG (for Farcry and Unreal2004 only ones to be somewhat similar tests).

    #61 How much money did ATi spend when developing the R3xx line? I would venture to say a decent amount...somtimes companies invest more money in a design then refine it several times (at less cost) before starting from scratch again. ATi and Nvidia has done this for quite awhile. Also from what Ive heard the r3xx had the possibilty of 16 pipes to begin with..this true anyone?

    Texture memory about 256 doesnt really matter now b/c of the insane bandwidth the 8x apg has to offer, however one might see that 512 may come in handy after Doom3 comes out since they use shitloads of high res textures instead of high polygons for alot of detail. I dont see 512 coming out for a little while, espescially with ram prices.
    Reply
  • deathwalker - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    Well...once again..someone is lying thru there teeth. What happen to the $399 entry price of the Pro model? Cheapest price on pricewatch it $478. Someone trying to cash in on the new buyer hysteria? I am impressed though with ATI's ability to step up to the plate and steal Nvidia's thunder. Reply
  • a2y - Thursday, May 06, 2004 - link

    OMG OMG!! I almost gone to buy and build a new system with latest specs and graphics card! and was going for the nVidia 6800Ultra ! until just now i decided to see any news from ATI and discovered their new card!

    Man if ATI and nVidia are going to bring up a card every 2/3 weeks then i'll never be able to build this system!!!

    Being a (Pre)fan of half-life 2, I guess im going to wait until its released to buy a graphics card (meaning when we all die and go to hell).
    Reply
  • remy - Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - link

    For the OpenGL vs D3D performance argument don't forget to take a look at Homeworld2 as it is an OpenGL game. ATI's hardware certainly seems to have come a long way since the 9700 Pro in that game! Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - link

    NullSubroutine - It was meant as nice sarcasm, more or less. No offense intended. (I was also trying to head off this thread becoming a "THG sucks blah blah blah" tangent, as many in the past have done when someone mentions their reviews.)

    My basic point (without doing a ton of research) is that pretty much every hardware site has their own demos that they use for benchmarking. Given that the performance difference between the ATI and Nvidia cards was relatively constant (I think), it's generally safe to assume that the levels, setup, bots, etc. are not the same when you see differing scores. Now if you see to places using the same demo and the same system setup, and there's a big difference, then you can worry. I usually don't bother comparing benchmark numbers from two different sites since they are almost never the same configuration.
    Reply

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