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Gigabyte Maya II Radeon 9700 Review - Features

Simply mentioning the words "GeForce FX" sends a shiver down the spine of enthusiast's users in the tech community as its retail release draws near. Don't forget about the graphics company from Canada though, ATI still currently have the speed crown in the Radeon 9700 Pro. Gigabyte are one of the third party manufacturers who switched to ATI from nVidia and today Cameron "Sov" Johnson takes a look at their Maya II Radeon 9700 - a cheaper, cut down version of the Pro version.

| AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jan 26, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.0%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the Maya II 9700

 

Package and Contents

 

 

Package wise, the box is almost identical to the Maya 9700 Pro version, which we reviewed here late last year. The only difference is the word "Pro" has been taken off. Inside the box, very little has changed, in fact the only thing that has changed is the core on the board.

 

You get the same user manual as the Pro (works for both cards as they are laid out identically), video card, DVI to CRT converter, VIVO cables and games bundle. The games bundle includes Serious Sam, Heavy Metal F.A.A.K and Aquanox. You also get Cyberlink Power DVD to play DVD movies on. In all, it is hard to distinguish from the Pro version as far as the package is concerned.

 

The Card

 

 

The card itself in a simple inspection looks identical to the Pro version. PCB size is identical, as are the ramsinks on the up side memory modules. Only slight vitiations in the heatsink make this card different to its higher end brother.

 

The VPU and its cooling

 

 

The Virtual Processing Unit, or VPU for short, as it is called is the R300 core using the Radeon 9700 Pro specification. The difference between the Pro and the standard version are simply clock speeds. The Pro runs at a higher memory and core clock compared to the non-Pro version.

 

In fact, the memory and core clocks of the 9700 standard are the same as that of the Radeon 9500 Pro. You might be thinking why are Radeon 9500 Pro then doesn't perform at the same framerate as a 9700? This is due to the 128bit memory interface of the 9500 Pro as compared to the 256bit of the Radeon 9700. Simple math gives the 9700 much more memory bandwidth.

 

The cooling unit is similar to that of the Radeon 9500 and 9500 Pro with the 8x fan guard to prevent wires and fingers getting into the fan and causing all sorts of trouble.

 

Memory Change

 

 

The memory used on the Pro version was Samsung 2.2ns Tiny BGA memory for extreme memory overclocking. The standard unit uses Hynix Memory rated at 2.8ns. This memory costs less, making the card more affordable, unfortunately for overclockers, is doesn't clock as high as the Samsung memory. Memory is located on both the front and back of the card. Only on the front of the card are two ramsinks found, none on the back - This limits overclocking potential "Out of the Box", only with adding extra sinks can you balance out for a better overclocking experience.

 

Power, Power, Power

 

 

While being under the power limit of the Pro version, you still require the extra power connector. The voltage rail on the AGP line is becoming too obsolete for today's video cards, and can't deliver enough amps to the video card without blowing out the Northbridge of today's motherboards. To combat this, ATI has specified a four pin FDD connector style to power the VPU. Without this connector, your card will not operate.

 

Gigabyte has not attempted to draw the extra power of the AGP rail and have used this connector. With all this extra amps, the voltage regulators get very hot, which is the reason behind the heatsink on the voltage regulators.

 

Further Reading: Read and find more Video Cards content at our Video Cards reviews, guides and articles index page.

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