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Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro "Ultimate Edition" Review

By: Mike Wright | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Aug 29, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Anti-Aliasing / Anisotropic Filtering

 

Some folks love it and others hate it, but there is no doubt that the use of Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) can make a huge different in the visual quality of your favorite 3D games. The biggest problem with the use of these technologies has been the huge drain it puts on the overall performance of a video card. After all, a great looking game is always desirable, but not when it slows to a crawling 12-15 FPS.

 

Ever since the folks at ATI came out with their 9xxx series video boards, they have successfully addressed this issue and have made AA and AF use a reality. Past tests have shown that there are very acceptable frame rates associated with the use of an ATI 9xxx board and AA/AF technologies. These same tests have also shown that the ATI line generally suffers a less degenerative performance hit than the nVidia counterparts, so we won't go into the ATI vs. nVidia concept in this review.

 

What we WILL discuss is how well the AA/AF use compares to the 9700 Pro board. When we tested the 9700 Pro, we saw that we gained very acceptable frame rates when using a 4x sampling for Anti-Aliasing and a 16x Anisotropic Filtering setting. What we wanted to find out, though, is whether the newer 9800 Pro could keep up the tradition of playable AA/AF.

 

All of these tests were run at a resolution of 1024x768x32 and with all internal settings the same as previous tests. The only difference was the activation of 4x AA and 16x AF. These settings were forced so that we could see what happens when we start playing with a feature that can effectively cripple a large majority of the video boards still in use today.

 

Let's see how they compared.

 

 

 

 

After the dust settles we see that the 9800 Pro is still making very impressive gains in performance. We see a 14% gain in 3DMark03, a 10% gain in Quake III Arena and a 16/9% gain when using the Grass/Water tests (respectively) in Code Creatures.

 

So it seems that no matter what you want to do with the 9800 Pro board, you can do so with a good deal more performance than even the vaunted 9700 Pro. And considering that this is the 128MB version of the 9800 line, we can see that the newer technologies truly make a good deal of difference.

 

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