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Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB with DDR-II

By: Cameron Johnson | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Aug 31, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the Gigabyte G9800Pro 256


- Package and Contents



Apart from the ultra sleek card which we will look at a little later, also included in the box is the Gigabyte Multi User manual with English, German and Chinese instructions for setup for the 9800/9600 series cards, the installation CD with a host of goodies including Drivers, Demos, Screensavers and some software to overclock the card, also a copy of Power DVD and Raven Shield, Tomb Raider to complete the software package.


Moving onto the other components we receive an S-Video to RCA adapter, an RCA video cable, the DVI to VGA converter and finally, a power splitter so you don't lose any connectors that run off your power supply.


- The Card



The Gigabyte 9800 Pro 256 uses the same PCB specifications as the 9800 Pro 256MB version from ATI themselves. In fact, there is very little difference in appearance to the standard 9800 128MB. Most notably, a slightly larger PCB and four extra RAM modules on the front side and four extra on the back to total 256MB.


The red PCB looks excellent and stands out perfectly and is definitely a graphics card that would suit MSI's line of red motherboards or most modders who want to get the best looks from their systems. Gigabyte includes heatsinks on all of the memory modules on both the front and back. These were seated to the Tiny-BGA modules with epoxy, which was impossible to remove the RAM sinks to get a better look at the modules.


- The Core



The core of the Radeon 9800 Pro 256 is identical in size and looks to that of the Radeon 9700. While ATI has removed the shims from some of the 9800 Pro cores and most of the 9600's, it hasn't done it to this core. The core is cooled by an ATI standard VPU cooler that is supplied with ATI based cards, so there is no difference between ATI's own and Gigabytes cooling selection.



- DDR-II Memory


One of the main differences between the Radeon 9800 128MB and the 256MB is the memory used. Not only has it been doubled in size, it has migrated from DDR to DDR-II.


While we haven't seen any DDR-II hitting the desktop PC memory scene, we have seen DDR-II used once before, and that was in the very controversial GeForce FX 5800 series. While this had some issues, ATI hasn't flinched when it comes to using this new memory. While nVidia made a huge mistake of using a 128-bit memory bus, ATI got it right first time. The DDR-II bus is 256-bit wide and running at a memory frequency of 700MHz so you will not find yourself out of memory bandwidth.



ATI has finally upgraded its power interface over the R300 core. Originally, a 4-pin floppy disk connector power plug was required to give extra power to the core. While requiring an extra power connector hasn't changed, the connector has. 4-pin HDD Molex connectors are much more common and usually a power supply these days comes with more than enough for your disks with a few to spare. With this in mind, a HDD 4-pin Molex power connector is used rather than a FDD connector, in all a much better way of doing things.


- Overclocking


First off let me say this, ATI can build an overclocking card well and have done so with the 9800. Gigabyte has harnessed this in the 9800 Pro 256. While they do provide V-Tuner, a Windows based overclocking utility, we prefer to use Rivatuner. With this little utility, we managed with default cooling to push the core from 380MHz standard up to 410MHz and memory from 700MHz DDR up to 811MHz DDR. In all a great push from a card that is supposed to be running flat out already.


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