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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

Vertex Processing Engine and more

Since all objects in a videogame are displayed on the screen as groups of tiny triangles it's very important for a videocard to be able to pump out as many triangles as possible. The more triangles, the higher the definition/detail of the landscape and characters. The Radeon 9700 Pro has more then twice the triangle power then the GeForce4 Ti4600 thanks to its quad vertex shader pipeline.

Because the vertex shader pipeline handles the colouring, orientation, lighting, etc. of the vertices four pipelines should allow for more lifelike and cinematic 3D experience (how many times have we heard that before?).

Of course in games where the triangle count is low, the Vertex Processing Engine really wouldn't be stressed or tested to its full potential

The Vertex Processing Engine here is also fully compatible with Vertex Shader 2.0 which is a component of MS's DirectX 9. Moving one, Hyper Z III works very closely with the Vertex Processing Engine and the first part of Hyper Z is the Hierarchal Z. What this bit of technology does is divide the Z buffer into blocks of pixels. Any blocks that are hidden are discarded and if blocks are partially covered, that area will be subdivided even further and scanned again. This is tested first in an Early Z Test to make sure the image is proper before it's shipped to the pixel engine.

Loss Less Z Compression is a form of compression that guarantees at least a 2:1 compression. This compresses the Z data that goes from Hyper Z III to the memory back to Hyper Z III. With 6x AA enabled, the compression can be as efficient as 24:1. Like the name suggests, Loss Less Z Compression does not degrade image quality.

The last part of Hyper Z III is the Fast Z Clear. Because the Z buffer must be cleared of data for every frame rendered, ATi has come up with a trick that clears the Z Buffer in a fraction of the the time. Unfortunately ATi didn't go into detail here, so I'm not sure how they did it.

Once everything is set, it's time to render the actual image which you see on the computer display. The Radeon 9700 Pro is the first videocard that can render eight pixels at the same time. Each pixel pipeline is 128bits wide with its own independent texture and pixel shader engine, and to top things off, the texture units can actually handle two texture data pieces per clock cycle. This is especially useful if you're using trilinear or Anisotropic filtering.

DirectX 9 also changes the way the Pixel Shaders handle raw numbers. One problem with using Integers (for example 2) during rendering is that a pixel's values are always rounded off. With the Pixel Shader 2.0 specification, all value's are now Real Numbers (2.39402 for example), which means there is no more rounding off.

This numerical slight hand becomes really important as the image gets more complex; rounding off integer values would eventually lead to image errors. When Real Numbers are used, the pixels are exactly what they're suppose to be, so the GPU can produce a more lifelike & accurate image.

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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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   03 / 18 / 2019 | 11:41PM
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