Power Color sent us their Radeon 9800 "Platinum Edition" graphics card last week but we have to admit the naming behind the product got us a little confused. We had never heard of this strangely named 9800 Platinum Edition before now.
After doing a little digging, we quickly discovered that the 9800 Platinum Edition is nothing more than a Radeon 9800 Pro GPU which is cut-down a little to help reduce the retail price for consumers. The 9800 Platinum Edition only uses a 128-bit memory bus compared to the 256-bit on the "true" 9800 Pro and the memory speed is a little slower on the Platinum Edition by around 40MHz (80MHz DDR) which gives the "true" 9800 Pro the ability to push about 2GB more bandwidth per second. Everything else is the same - you still have 8 pixel pipelines to crunch the data and DX9 and AGP 8x support available, just like the proper 9800 Pro and XT.
Our sources tell us that a few graphics cards manufacturers (Power Color and Sapphire mainly) and their retail partners got into a bit of trouble with ATI for selling the 9800 Platinum Edition in its 128-bit flavor as the more expensive 9800 Pro with 256-bit memory bus. This is how the 9800 Platinum Edition naming convention surfaced over the past couple months. We would guess in saying that the chips used with the 9800 Platinum Edition cards are probably actual 9800 Pro chips which couldn't quite cut the cheese (256-bit), so to speak.
Having said that, you shouldn't let this piece of information deter you from choosing 9800 Platinum Edition as after all both nVidia and ATI always do this type of thing when clock speeds yields and so on aren't as high as first expected. It's the consumer who usually wins at the end of the day since they have some cheaper options to choose from if they cannot afford the sometimes high entry price for some graphics cards.
Today we'll take a look at Power Color's 9800 Platinum Edition 128MB graphics card, what you get inside the package and then compare the performance of the new chip in our usual array of benchmarks against a Radeon 9600 XT, 9800 XT and X800 PRO to help try and work out where this card stands in the market and what is your best value conscious choice if you are on the look-out for a new AGP graphics card.