ATI's Radeon 9500 Pro - Now Shipping & Fasterby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 27, 2002 6:00 AM EST
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Changes to the Card
We're not going to go through the architecture of the Radeon 9500 Pro or how it's derived from the R300 core, instead we'll point you back at our original Radeon 9500 article for more information on the chip and the card.
ATI made two physical changes to the Radeon 9500 Pro that differentiate it from the card we reviewed in October. The first change is that ATI has switched from Samsung memory (left) to Hynix memory (right).
This board also has a fully functional 128MB of memory as it is properly wired for the 128-bit memory bus of the Radeon 9500 Pro GPU.
The second difference is that the board layout has changed considerably; instead of using a Radeon 9700 Pro layout (the original cards were built on Radeon 9700 boards), the 9500 Pro uses its own design as you can see in the pictures below.
The majority of the performance differences come from a new driver that is shipping with the card. The driver improves performance across the board on the 9500 Pro and also works on the 9700 Pro. Performance isn't really enhanced on the 9700 Pro however, in some cases it's faster in others it's slower.
The final Radeon 9500 Pro driver does not work properly with the first Radeon 9500 Pro board we received, nor does it work with the Radeon 9500 (4-pipeline version). The current Radeon 9500 boards are still based on a design oddly reminiscent of the original Radeon 9500 Pro board we received, we don't see a reason for ATI not using the new board design on the regular Radeon 9500 unless they don't plan on keeping the card around for too long.