Value GPU Shootout - Introduction
Value GPU Shootout - Overview of Radeon 9550Overview of Radeon 9550RADEON 9550 delivers a cinematic experience to devoted gamers and casual enthusiasts alike, featuring optimized DirectX 9.0 and AGP 8X support to push next-generation 3D games to their limit.- Get in the GameFull AGP 8X support doubles available bandwidth for the most engaging game play in its class Four parallel rendering pipelines process up to 1.6 billion pixels per second 128-bit full floating point precision enables billions of color variations to render the same lighting and effects as Hollywood studios Core Speed 250MHz and Memory Speed 200MHzx2 (400MHz DDR)- Microsoft DirectX 9 supportEnjoy better performance and 3D imagery in multimedia, games and applications with Microsoft DirectX 9 optimized architecture Supported by CATALYST, the industry's most stable 3D acceleration software Also supporting the latest OpenGL functionality and feature sets - Extra LifeOptimized to run the most demanding 2D and 3D next-generation games and applications without putting extra strain on the CPU FULLSTREAM removes blocky artifacts from streaming Internet video to deliver smoother looking, higher quality online content VIDEO IMMERSION integrates features to provide unprecedented support for digital and high definition video. - System requirementsPentium 4/Celeron/III/II, AMD K6/Athlon or compatible with AGP 2X or AGP 2X/4X universal slot Installation software requires CD-ROM drive DVD playback requires DVD drive on PCs with an Intel Pentium II processor (or equivalent) and 64MB of system memory- Monitor supportCRT Monitor: 15-pin VGA connector Composite connector DVI-I (flat panel display) connector - Display supportRegister compatible with VGA BIOS compatible with VESA for super VGA DDC1/2b/2b+ monitor support VESA Display Power Management Support Separate horizontal & vertical synchronization at TTL levels
Value GPU Shootout - The Core and 9550 Participant Cards9550 CoreWhile the 9550 sounds like it has something to do with the previous generation of 9500 cards, it actually has nothing to do with them. The 9550 is here to offer an upgraded 9600 SE with there being one major difference. The 9550 offers a 128-bit memory bus as opposed to the slower 64-bit bus on offer with the 9600 SE.Fortunately we are lucky enough to have two different 9550's on offer here today and not only will we have a look at how the compare against each other but also how the cards compete against the GeForce FX 5500 and FX 5700LE.9550 Participant Cards- PowerColor 9550PowerColor has chosen to follow the reference design from ATI for their first revision Radeon 9550. One thing that was quite surprising is that PowerColor have chosen to include 256MB of memory on their card compared to 128MB on the GeCube 9550.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark 2001 SETest System SetupProcessor(s): AMD Athlon 64 3400+ Video card(s): nVidia nForce 3 250GB Reference (Supplied by nVidia)Video card(s): PowerColor Radeon 9550 256MB (Supplied by PowerColor) and GeCube Radeon 9550 Extreme 128MB (Supplied by GeCube) Memory: 1 x 512MB Kingmax PC4000 (Supplied by Kingmax)Hard Disk(s): Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000 RPM SATA (Supplied by Western Digital)Operating System Used: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers Used: ATI Catalyst 4.4, nVidia Reference 409 (NF250GB) and nVidia Forceware 56.72As we mentioned, the ATI Radeon 9550 series of cards are designed to compete against the GeForce FX 5500 and FX 5700LE offerings from nVidia. We will be comparing the two cards we have here today against the Sparkle FX 5500 and FX 5700LE.We will also have a look at what the Extreme version of the 9550 from GeCube offers over the other cards and if there is much difference from the BGA memory used compared to the slower TSOP used on the PowerColor 9550.Let's begin!3DMark 2001 SE3DMark2001 SE is a part of the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 8.1 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce4), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - 3DMark 20033DMark 20033DMark03 is the latest installment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments. Please Note: Due to recent events with the 3DMark03 series, we are adding results purely for those who are still in favor of 3DMark03. These results should not be taken too seriously and are only added for interest sakes.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Aquamark 3Aquamark 3 Aquamark3 is the latest installment of the Aquamark benchmark suite. This new benchmark is much more powerful and demands much more from both the system and the graphics card. If there is any weakness in the system or 3D components, Aquamark3 will find them.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Jedi Knight 2Jedi Knight IIJedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is an OpenGL game that many have been playing of late. It has greatly improved graphics over its predecessor and it fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight onto the 3D and memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to gain playable scores with this game.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2004 DemoUnreal Tournament 2004 DemoUnreal Tournament 2004 is the latest installment to the Unreal Tournament series. While still using DirectX 8.1 the game has faced quite a big make over and is a lot more intensive then its predecessor. Currently we are only using the demo but as soon as the full version hit the shelves it will be making a regular appearance in future reviews.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Comanche 4Comanche 4Comanche 4 is a helicopter simulation using the DirectX 8.1 graphics interface. It is used to test the memory and 3D subsystems of a motherboard and video processor. Any weaknesses will show up through this intensive benchmark.
Value GPU Shootout - Benchmarks - Quake 3Quake III ArenaQuake III Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a wide range of different products. Quake III is getting very old, but is still one of the best ways of testing video and PC systems for any instabilities and best performance.
Value GPU Shootout - ConclusionConclusionThe Radeon 9550 should hit the markets (other than China where is said to be selling quite well already) quite competitively and as you can see for yourself, the performance is quite competitive when it comes up against the nVidia competition. As we stated, the card is priced slightly cheaper then the competition which is going to make it for an extremely competitive product once it hits shop shelves which will not be too far off.ATI have a real winner on their hands here and the value to mid range market is something that they have been missing out on for quite a while now.PowerColor have simply chosen to follow the reference design which isn't a bad thing because it keeps up with the FX5700LE without any trouble. GeCube, on the other hand, have done a little bit more with the 9550 core and chosen to install a better cooler and place some faster BGA memory on the PCB to help increase performance.The benchmark numbers cannot lie - all signs point to ATI taking out the crown in this section of the market with the Radeon 9550 showing a fair overall lead against the GeForce FX 5500 in our tests. What will nVidia's answer be? We'll wait and find out.
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