Features of the Power Color Radeon 9800 XT Continued
With the newest Catalyst drivers for your Radeon 9800 XT, ATI has introduced an automatic overclocking facility called "Overdrive".
This function automatically overclocks the VPU and memory clock speeds depending on what you are doing at the time and on the core and memory temperatures. The good thing with the 9800 XT over its older brother (the 9800 Pro) is temperature monitoring has been introduced with allows the card to sense whether or not it is safe to increase clock speeds or not at any given time. Give or take a few MHz, Overdrive will increase core and memory clock frequencies around 30MHz on both clocks without you seeing a thing.
With Overdrive disabled and with no changes to default cooling, we were able to reach a maximum stable overclock of 465MHz core giving us around a 13% increase (or 53MHz) and 415MHz memory giving us around a 14% increase (or 50MHz) in Quake III Arena using Riva Tuner as our overclocking program. Keep in mind this testing was done with the card enclosed in a Small Form Factor case with reduced air flow. In a larger case with increased air flow, you may be able to yield better results.
While these overclocked clock speeds are not the most impressive we've achieved in the past, for such an already high-powered graphics processor it's fairly impressive. I guess you could say I am just stuck back in the ultra-overclockable nVidia GeForce FX Ti4200 days.
- VPU Recovery
The other nice new feature to emerge from ATI with the release of the 9800 XT is "VPU Recovery". It is a unique feature which automatically senses when the graphics card is becoming unstable and kicks you back to Windows at 640x480 with all hardware optimizations disabled.
This allows you to save all your current work and reboot. As a practical example, we found this feature particularly handy when we were overclocking in Windows via Riva Tuner. We overclocked the card too far, VPU Recovery kicked in and instead of the system hard locking we had the chance to change the settings back.
Now we've finished looking at the card, let's move onto the benchmarks and see just how the latest graphics processor goes against the older Radeon 9800 Pro!
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