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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

Testing Information


Since we are doing a direct comparison between the Radeon 9700 Pro and this 128MB version of the 9800 Pro, I went ahead and retested the older board on a fresh install of Windows to make sure that we would have accurate results. While the Sapphire 9700 Pro board is certainly still serviceable as a high-end graphics choice, it is nearly impossible to find one retail anymore. With a sticker price in the same neighborhood, we are looking to see if it is worth the effort to look at this model of 9800 Pro, as an alternative choice. Sure you can get the fancy 256MB version, but that will set you back nearly US$500!


Before we delve into a bunch of test results, let's take a look at the system we used for the comparison.


Test System Setup


Motherboard: Soltek 75MRN-L (Supplied by Soltek)


Processor: AMD Athlon XP Thoroughbred @ 2034MHz


Memory: 2x 512MB Crucial PC2700 DDR


Hard Drive: Western Digital 80GB "SE"


Operating System: Windows XP Pro SP1


Drivers Used: ATI Catalyst 3.6


Software Used: 3DMark2001SE, 3DMark03, Quake III Arena and Code Creatures


I decided to use a couple of older benchmarks and a couple of newer ones to give a more rounded view of the performance level when compared to the last generation 9700 Pro. All system settings were identical for the testing phase and ambient temperatures were also the same. Since both video boards weigh in with 128MB of DDR memory, the only real difference will be the core design. Yes, memory speeds will be a bit different, but these tests will be run at default speeds.


Also of note is the fact that I wanted to see how these boards compared at different resolutions. I ran all of the standard battery of tests at resolutions of 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200. Color depth was set to 32-bit for all tests to keep things on the same level throughout testing. I decided to stay away from ultra-low settings since it is unlikely that we would even think of really playing a game at this low level of performance. After all, why chuck out good money for a video board and then play it at settings that were popular five years ago?


So how does the new kid on the block stack up with a past winner? Let's find out!


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