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Gigabyte Maya II Radeon 9500 Video Card Review

By: Cameron Johnson | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jan 13, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the Maya II 9500


Package and Contents



Being a Maya II video card means that Gigabyte has packed it for maximum pleasure without it hitting too hard on your wallet. Designed around a very attractive and eye catching box, you are sure to spot this baby easily in your local Gigabyte stockist. Once opened, you get the same bundle as in the Maya II 9700 Pro and the rest of the Maya II range. You get yourself the card, a user manual, Drivers CD, Cyberlink DVD XP, Serious Sam, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K 2, Rune, Motocross Mania and 4x4 Evo 2 demo.


The same cables and converter bundle is also unchanged. You receive a Power splitter, DVI to CRT converter and a 1.5m TV cable with both S-Video and RCA connection, so you are guaranteed, if you have a TV with either of these connections, you will get it on the screen.


The Card



This is where things differ from the other Maya cards. While the card shares the same PCB as the 9700 series cards, two memory modules have been left off the front side and two off the back side leaving only 64MB of memory onboard. The RAM isn't actively or passively cooled, so overclocking the memory won't be as easy as the 9700 Pro was.





The VPU of the Maya II 9500 is cooled by a rather small yet effective Heatsink/Fan unit. Similar to the one used on the 9700 series, this unit can effectively cool the unit and allows for some decent overclocking. Once you remove the heatsink you are faced with the same looking VPU as the 9700 and 9700 Pro, but there are some slight differences within.


First off, on the 9500 plain core the maximum memory size is 64MB of DDR SDRAM; the 9500 Pro supports either 64MB or 128MB. Along with a memory size cut, the interface has been reduced from 256-bit to 128-bit, reducing its bandwidth substantially. While being clocked at 9500 speeds the reduced interfaces limits the overall speed of the 9500, which is what ATI intended to do. Rather than suffer the embarrassment that nVidia suffered with the Ti4200 being able to outclock the Ti4600's and gain better scores and sales, ATI ensures the 9700 will stay ahead of the 9500.





As mentioned above, the unit is equipped with only 64MB of memory, but this memory is high quality. Using Samsung 3.3ns memory (identical RAM to the 9700 Pro) this memory has proven itself to clock to over 650MHz DDR under the right conditions. As also mentioned above, there are two memory modules removed from both the front and the back.


More Power



While being somewhat cut in 3D power over the 9700, it still doesn't get away with loosing the extra power connector. The nature of the FC-BGA VPU draws a lot more amps than the AGP bus can provide. ATI combats this by adding extra power connectors onto the video card. Gigabyte has followed suit and added this connector and also added a cooling plate to the voltage regulators on the back of the card.


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