Before we delve into this particular board, we'll take a peek at the specifications. After all, we can learn a lot from the numbers presented and it will also give us a good place to start from in our expectations of this video card.
- 256-bit memory interface removes hardware performance bottleneck and provides end users with faster 3D graphics
- Industry's first 8-pixel pipeline architecture, providing twice the rendering power of any currently competing product
- Supports the new AGP 8X standard, providing a high-speed link between the graphics board and the rest of the PC (2.0 GB/sec)
- First to fully support DirectX 9.0 and the latest OpenGL functionality
- New SMARTSHADER™ 2.0 technology allows users to experience complex, movie-quality effects in next-generation 3D games and applications
- SMOOTHVISION™ 2.0 technology enhances image quality by removing jagged edges and bringing out fine texture detail, without compromising performance
- 128-bit floating-point color precision allows for a greater range of colors and brightness
- Unique VIDEOSHADER™ engine uses programmable pixel shaders to accelerate video processing and provide better-looking visuals
- ATI's new FULLSTREAM™ technology removes blocky artifacts from Streaming and Internet video and provides sharper image quality
- Completely silent passive cooling via revolutionary heatpipe and RAM sinks 128MB DDR memory accelerates the latest 3D games
Many of these features are the same as those found on the Radeon 9500 based video boards, but there are a couple of differences worth mentioning here. Foremost among these would have to be the full 8-pixel pipeline that is used on the 9700 Pro boards. This is double the rendering horsepower of the smaller brother so we should see some pretty massive improvements in score.
Another important difference with this particular variety of card is the passive cooling. This is where our friends at Sapphire give us something out of the ordinary. And not only that, but they have also made sure to include a full array of RAM sinks to make sure that the job was finished. This equates to workable cooling - even while overclocked - and absolutely no added noise to the system.
Sounds good so far, but let's take a look at the card and other goodies!