Crucial Radeon 9800 Pro Videocard Review
ATi are laying down the same game plan set
by nVIDIA many years back, releasing new VPUs every six to eight months. The Radeon
9800 Pro VPU was released seven months after the highly successful Radeon 9700
Pro and the upcoming 'R420' is on course for a late September release.
The Radeon 9800 Pro VPU is really
nothing more than a higher clocked 'R300' core that has been tweaked for just a bit
more performance. We'll get into the specifics in a moment, but as you're about to see it really
does improve performance nicely.
event, the highly successful Radeon 9800 Pro we are examining now came to market
from an unlikely source - Crucial, a division of Micron, and a tier one memory manufacturer. Crucial ventured into the highly
competitive world of videocards in the summer of 2002, originally releasing a
Radeon 8500LE. Their videocard caused quite a stir in the hardware
community due to the use of 6ns DRAM, however the performance of the card
was not able to live up to expectations.
appear to have improved on their mistakes, and the Crucial
Radeon 9700 Pro was one of the better 9700 Pro's on the market due to its
more competitive price and awesome warranty. Today we'll be checking out Crucial's new
Radeon 9800 Pro videocard. The same questions arise; does this card live up to
the Crucial name and expectations? You'll just have to read on to find out!
Crucial Radeon 9800 Pro is shipped in a standard white box and
includes a S-Video-to-composite converter, composite-to-composite cable, a S-Video-to-S-Video cable and a DVI-to-analog converter. Crucial also include
a quick installation guide, the driver CD and a copy of PowerDVD.
Crucial Radeon 9800 Pro is (not surprisingly) identical to the ATi Radeon 9800
Pro and judging by the marks on the capacitors and PCB I'd say the units were
probably built in the same factory as the retail ATi Radeon 9800 Pro's.
layout of the card is very similar to that of the Radeon 9700 Pro. The card is about 2 cm longer
and the power plant has been moved to the front of the card instead of the back.
The Crucial Radeon 9800 Pro now gets its power from the more common molex connector instead
of relying on the floppy drive power type connection, which had a nasty habit
of getting bent all the time.
there still is a shim around the R350 VPU (which is still higher than the core) because the heatsink
juts out at the center, it makes direct contact with the silicon.
The Crucial Radeon 9800 Pro uses
the same 2.8ns Samsung BGA DDR RAM (K4D263238E-GC2A) that is found on the Radeon 9700 Pro class videocards, and
despite being clocked a bit higher does not have or require
heatsinks. As any Radeon 9700/9800 owner knows though, the memory does get
very hot during operation and it would have been nice for Crucial
to place some sort of cooling there for peace of mind.
from the excellent performance, probably the next biggest selling feature is
Crucial's excellent service record. You don't build up a 9.76 lifetime reseller rating by having good prices
alone! These days when it comes to computer components, it's when will a device fail, not if. Having one
of the best customer service records certainly makes things easier for you to plunk
down that $537 CDN ($399 US) it'll cost you for the card!