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ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 8X AGP Videocard Review

ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 8X AGP Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The card has support for 8X AGP and is also equipped with 128MB DDR RAM using a 256-bit memory interface. This provides over 20GB/s of bandwidth which is pretty jaw dropping in itself.
 95% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ATI Oct 15 2002   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > ATI Radeon 9700 Pro

Cooling 107 million Transisitors & Overclocking

As I mentioned earlier, the Radeon 9700 Pro (R300) core is based on 0.15 micron manufacturing technology which has proven easier to work with than 0.13micron. An FCBGA, Flip Chip Ball Grid Array package allows the core to come in direct contact with the heatsink which improves thermal transfer, and hence cooling.
For comparisons sake, the core of the Radeon 9700 (dark gray) is gigantic compared to the AMD Thoroughbred AthlonXP core.

ATI package the Radeon 9700 with a small extruded heatsink which uses a yellow TIM pad. The heatsink is adequate for cooling, but we're left wondering if ATI should have followed in the footsteps of nVidia and utilized a heatsink with a little bit of wow-factor instead. In any event, ATI appear to be taking more care in their cooling solutions, and the GPU cooler that comes with the Radeon 9700 Pro is large and seems well designed. The fan is quiet, a nice change from the relatively noisy GeForce4 fans.

Overclocking:

The Radeon 9700 Pro is a very fast videocard even at stock speeds, but how does that big 0.15 micron core handle overclocking and does that big heatsink actually work? How does the 2.8ns Samsung DRAM handle overclocking?

Even though the Radeon 9700 Pro's core is built on the rather large (relatively) 0.15 micron technology, a lot of sites on the web have been getting some very high overclocks out of it. With everything stock, I started to up the core speed. 350 MHz and no problems, 360 MHz still nothing! I ran into some weird problems at around 375 MHz the card would lock up almost every time in the Nature demo of 3DMark2001SE or in the CodeCreatures benchmark but everything else was ok.

I found that if I removed the lousy TIM from the heatsink and replaced it with regular white thermal compound the card wouldn't lock up anymore. I guess the core was just over heating. In the end I ended up with a maximum core speed of 382 MHz. It would go all the way up to 400 MHz, but you would see artifacts in 3D applications.

As for the memory since it had a 2.8ns DRAM rating it should do at least 714 MHz (1000 MHz / 2.8ns x 2 (DDR) = 714 MHz). We began to up the memory speed slowly. 650 MHz and nothing, 670 MHz everything was still cool and 700 MHz was good too. It's funny, but if we went 1 MHz over 714 we would start to get artifacts.

382/714 isn't a bad overclock. As you'll see it does boost performance quite a bit as well!

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Contents of Article: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
 Pg 1.  ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 8X AGP Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — Cooling 107 million Transisitors & Overclocking
 Pg 3.  ATI R300 Core Technology
 Pg 4.  Vertex Processing Engine and more
 Pg 5.  Smoothvision 2.0 - Wicked graphics
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: 3DMark 2001SE
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: AquaMark 2.3
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Codecreatures
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: UT2003
 Pg 12.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001SE AA
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena AA
 Pg 14.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001SE AF
 Pg 15.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena AF
 Pg 16.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001SE AF and AA
 Pg 17.  Benchmarks: QIII Arena AF and AA

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