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PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro Graphics Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jun 14, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: PowerColor





Considering the price of the card (at time of writing, around $400 US compared to the usual asking price of around $500 US for most other Radeon 9800 Pro cards) it is surprising to see the excellent package which comes with the PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro.


The most common DVD software we find in software packages these days is Power DVD but PowerColor has opted to choose WinDVD, instead. Both programs are very good and you shouldn't have a problem running your DVDs through it. The other programs which come with it include Comanche 4 and Summoner full versions as well as a demo disk and your usual driver CDROM to help get you started - however we recommend that you take a quick visit to the ATI website and download the latest drivers. It's nice to see that PowerColor were able to include multiple full version games for a budget orientated Radeon 9800 Pro card.





Included aside from the user manual is a DVI - VGA adapter so you can make use of its dual monitor function additionally you will find a S-Video to Composite adapter and finally the cables necessary to use the TV-Out ability with your S-Video and Composite cables depending on the kind of television you have.


The Card


- The Front


There is nothing visually unusual or spectacular about the PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro as it simply follows the reliable and sturdy reference design from ATI.



The red PCB looks excellent and stands out perfectly and is definitely a graphics card that would suit MSI's line of red motherboards. You do notice the lack of memory heatsinks however this helps in keeping the cost to a bare minimum, which is what PowerColor are aiming for. Like the other Radeon 9800's we have looked at, it follows the pack with the new four pin molex adapter to power the card. This is, of course, a lot more convenient for people as they aren't short on four pin molex connectors.


One excellent feature behind the reference model of the Radeon 9800 Pro is its low noise cooling solution. The Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro produces the most noise out of the cards we have seen and while the Hercules was very quite the PowerColor is even quieter and almost silent.


- The Back


As expected, moving around to the back of the card you notice nothing out of the ordinary. The PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro is very simple and lacks memory heatsinks and any fancy cooling which gives us less information to write about.



If you're interested in spending a few extra dollars and getting some tiny BGA heatsinks along with some Artic Silver 3, you will really add something to the card which it does lack. If you are interested in simply running the card at its standard settings, which most people will be happy with, they will find that this set up is going to be perfect for them as it is one of the most affordable cards of this flavor on the market.


- The Face Plate


Moving around to the side of the card to the face plate we see DVI, VGA and S-Video ports. Combining the DVI to VGA adapter you are able to run a multiple setup which helps span Windows across two monitors and results in a load of space to work normally experienced from large monitors.



The S-Video port gives you the ability to export your picture to your television for some big screen gaming, unfortunately the resolution on televisions are quite limited - nevertheless it is a little bit of fun every once and a while.


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