ATI Chipsets

Below you can see our breakdown of the GPU guide for ATI video cards:

ATI Craphics Chips Overview
DirectX 9 with PS2.0b and VS2.0 Support
X700 Pro RV410 8 1 6 128/256 128
X700 XT? RV410 500 1000 8 1 6 128/256 128
X800 SE? R420 425 800 8 1 6 128/256 256
X800 Pro R420 475 900 12 1 6 256 256
X800 GT? R420 425 900 16 1 6 256 256
X800 XT R420 500 1000 16 1 6 256 256
X800 XT? R423 500 1000 16 1 6 256 256
X800 XT PE R420 520 1120 16 1 6 256 256
X800 XT PE? R423 520 1120 16 1 6 256 256
DirectX 9 with PS2.0 and VS2.0 Support
9500 R300 275 540 4 1 4 64/128 128
9500 Pro R300 275 540 8 1 4 128 128
9550 RV350 250 400 4 1 2 64/128/256 128
9550 SE RV350 250 400 4 1 2 64/128/256 64
9600 RV350 325 400 4 1 2 128/256 128
9600 Pro RV350 400 600 4 1 2 128/256 128
9600 SE RV350 325 400 4 1 2 64/128/256 64
9600 XT RV360 500 600 4 1 2 128/256 128
X300 RV370 325 400 4 1 2 64/128/256 128
X300 SE RV370 325 400 4 1 2 64/128 64
X600 Pro RV380 400 600 4 1 2 128/256 128
X600 XT RV380 500 740 4 1 2 128/256 128
9700 R300 275 540 8 1 4 128 256
9700 Pro R300 325 620 8 1 4 128 256
9800 R350 325 600 8 1 4 128 256
9800 "Pro" R350/360 380 680 8 1 4 128/256 128
9800 Pro 128 R350/360 380 680 8 1 4 128 256
9800 Pro 256 R350/360 380 700 8 1 4 256 256
9800 SE 128 R350 325 580 8 1 4 128 128
9800 SE 256 R350 380 680 4 1 4 128 256
9800 XT R360 412 730 8 1 4 256 256
DirectX 8.1 with PS1.4 and VS1.1 Support
8500 LE R200 250 500 4 2 1 64/128 128
8500 R200 275 550 4 2 1 64/128 128
9000 RV250 250 400 4 1 1 64/128 128
9000 Pro RV250 275 550 4 1 1 64/128 128
9100 R200 250 500 4 2 1 64/128 128
9100 Pro R200 275 550 4 2 1 64/128 128
9200 SE RV280 200 333 4 1 1 64/128 64
9200 RV280 250 400 4 1 1 64/128/256 128
9200 Pro RV280 300 600 4 1 1 64/128 128
9250 RV280 240 400 4 1 1 128/256 128
DirectX 7
Radeon VE^ RV100 183 183 1 3 0 32 64
7000 PCI^ RV100 166 333 1 3 0 32? 64
7000 AGP^ RV100 183 366 1 3 0 32/64 64
Radeon LE R100 148 296 2 3 0.5 32 128
Radeon SDR R100 166 166 2 3 0.5 32/64 128
Radeon DDR R100 183 366 2 3 0.5 32/64 128
7200 R100 183 183 2 3 0.5 32/64 64
7500 LE RV200 250 360 2 3 0.5 32? 128
7500 AIW RV200 250 333 2 3 0.5 32? 128
7500 RV200 290 460 2 3 0.5 32/64 128
* RAM clock is the effective clock speed, so 250 MHz DDR is listed as 500 MHz.
** Textures/Pipeline is the number of unique texture lookups. ATI has implementations that can lookup 3 textures, but two of the lookups must be from one texture.
*** Vertex pipelines is estimated on certain architectures. NVIDIA says their GFFX cards have a "vertex array", but in practice it performs as shown.
^ Radeon 7000 and VE Series had their Transform and Lighting Engine removed, and hence cannot perform fixed function vertex processing.

As far as the various models are concerned, ATI has DX7, DX8.1, and DX9 parts, as well as an unofficial DX9 with SM2.0b support - unofficial due to the fact that Microsoft has not actually certified this "in between" version of DX9. ATI has features that are part of SM3.0, but they do not include the full SM3.0 feature set. When they enable their 2.0b features, they fail WHQL compliance. Since not having WHQL compliance creates concerns among users (the dreaded "This device driver is not certified for use by Microsoft" warning), ATI will turn them off by default, and many people will not know enough to reenable them. It may not seem like a big deal, but software companies are less likely to optimize for non-standard features - especially ones that are disabled by default - so SM3.0 is more likely to see support than SM2.0b.

Generalizing somewhat, we can say that each family of ATI cards outperforms the older generation cards. There are, of course, exceptions, such as the 9550/9600 SE cards which are outclassed by the older 8500/9100 models, and the performance of the 9200SE is rather anemic in comparison to the 7500 in the majority of games. However, the added features and performance tweaks usually make up for the difference in raw numbers, and so comparing performance between the various generations of hardware does not always work.

Older ATI cards lacked support for multi-sample antialiasing, resorting to super-sampling as an alternative. Super-sampling, if you don't know, simply renders the screen at a higher resolution and then filters it down to a lower resolution, and in most cases it is limited to a maximum of 1600x1200. The quality is actually quite good with super-sampling, but the performance hit is enormous. Only with the R3xx cores did ATI begin to support multi-sampling, which helps to these cards to beat the previous generation when AA is enabled. Of course, once ATI did begin supporting multi-sampling, they did it very well, and the quality of their rotated grid sampling was regarded as being superior to the NVIDIA FX line.

ATI has also done anisotropic filtering very well for quite some time, although many believe it is due to "cheats" or "unfair optimizations". The real difference between ATI's implementation of AF and NVIDIA's is that ATI used a faster distance calculation. "True" anisotropic filtering does not really exist as such, and in the end it really comes down to getting improved image quality without killing performance. Today, it is very difficult to distinguish between the optimized and unoptimized filtering methods that both companies employ, and ATI has said they will address any situations where their image quality suffers.

At present, it is worth mentioning that all of the 9800 series chips and X800 series chips use the same base core. ATI validates the chips and in cases where portions of the chips fail, they can deactivate some of the pipelines and still sell the chip as a "light" version. With the 9800 SE cards, some people were able to "soft mod" their chips into full 9800 Pro cards, but success was not guaranteed. There are rumors that the same can be done with the X800 Pro cards, although success seems to be relatively rare right now, likely due to the large size of the chips. As the manufacturing process improves, success rates should also improve, but it's still a gamble. 9500/Pro cards were also based off the more complex 9700/Pro chip, and quite a few people were able to mod these cards into faster versions, but the introduction of the 9600 series put an end to that. We do not recommend purchasing the lower end cards with the intent to soft mod unless you are willing to live with the consequences, namely that success is by no means guaranteed and it will void the warranty. In our opinion, the relatively small price difference just isn't enough to warrant the risk.

Index The Way It's Meant to be Played
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  • MODEL 3 - Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - link

    A lot of mistakes for a professional hardware review site the size of Anandtech.I will only mention the de facto mistakes since I have doubts for more.I am actually surprised about the amount of mistakes in this article.I mean since I live in Greece (not the center of the world in 3d technology or hardware market) I always thought that the editors in the best hardware review sites of the world (like Anandtech) have at least the basic knowledge related to technology and they make research and doublecheck if their articles are correct.I mean they get paid, right?I mean if I can find so easily their mistakes (I have no technology related degree although I was purchase and product manager in the best Greek IT companies) they must be doing something very,very wrong indeed.Now onto the mistakes:
    ATI :
    X700 6 vertex pipelines: Actually this is no mistake since I have no information about this new part but it seems strange if X700 will have the same (6) vertex pipelines as X800XT.I guess more logical would be half as many (3) (like 6800Ultra-6600GT) or double as many as X600 (4).We will see.
    Radeon VE 183/183: The actual speed was 166/166SDR 128bit for ATI parts and as low as 143/143 for 3rd party bulk part
    Radeon 7000 PCI 166/333 The actual speed was 166/166SDR 128bit for ATI parts and as low as 143/143 for 3rd party bulk part (note that anandtech suggests 166DDR and the correct is 166 SDR)
    Radeon 7000 AGP 183/366 32/64(MB): The actual speed was 166/166SDR for ATI parts and as low as 143/143 for 3rd party bulk part (note that anandtech suggests 166DDR and the correct is 166 SDR) also at launch and for a whole year (if ever) it didn't exist a 64MB part
    Radeon 7200 64bit ram bus: The 7200 was exactly the same as Radeon DDR so the ram bus width was 128bit
    ATI has unofficial DX 9 with SM2.0b support: Actually ATI has official DX 9.0b support and Microsoft certified this "in between" version of DX9.When they enable their 2.0b feutures they don't fail WHQL compliance since 2.0b is official microsoft version (get it?).Feutures like 3Dc normal map compression are activated only in open GL mode but 3Dc compression is not part of DX9.0b.
    NVIDIA:
    GF 6800LE with 8 pixel pipelines has according to Anandtech 5 vertex pipelines: Actually this is no mistake since I have no information about this part but since 6800GT/Ultra is built with four (4) quads with 4 pixel pipelines each isn't more logical the 6800LE with half the quads to have half the pixel (8) AND half (3) the vertex pipelines?
    GFFX 5700 3 vertex pipelines: GFFX 5700 has half the number of pixel AND vertex pipelines of 5900 so if you convert the vertex array of 5900 into 3 vertex pipes (which is correct) then the 5700 would have 1,5
    GF4 4600 300/600: The actual speed is 300/325DDR 128bit
    GF2MX 175/333: The actual speed is 175/166SDR 128bit
    GF4MX series 0.5 vertex shader: Actually the GF4MX series had twice the amount of vertex shaders of GF2 so the correct number of vertex shader is 1
    According to Anandtech, the GF3 cards only show a slight performance increase over the GF2 Ultra, and that is only in more recent games : Actually GF3 (Q1 01) was based in 0,18 nm technology and the yields was extremely low.In reality GF3 parts in acceptable quantity came in Q3 01 with GF3Ti series 0,15 nm technology .If you check the performance in open GL games at and after Q3 01 and DX8 games at and after Q3 02 you will clearly see GF3 to have double the performance of GF2 clock for clock (GF3Ti500 Vs GF2Ultra)

    Now, the rest of the article is not bad and I also appreciate the effort.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 8, 2004 - link

    Sorry, ViRGE - I actually took your suggestion to heart and updated page 3 initially, since you are right about it being more common. However, I forgot to modify the DX7 performance charts. There are probably quite a few other corrections that should be made as well.... Reply
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Jared, like I said, you're technically right about how the GF2 MX could be outfitted with either 128bit SDR or 64bit SDR/DDR, but you said it yourself that the cards were mostly 128bit SDR. Obviously any change won't have an impact, but in my humble opinion, it would be best to change the GF2 MX to better represent what historically happened, so that if someone uses this chart as a reference for a GF2 MX, they're more likely to be getting the "right" data. Reply
  • BigLan - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Good job with the article

    Love the office reference...

    "Can I put it in my mouth?"
    Reply
  • darth_beavis - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Sorry, now it's suddenly working. I don't know what my problem is (but I'm sure it's hard to pronounce). Reply
  • darth_beavis - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Actually it looks like none of them have labels. Is anandtech not mozilla compatible or something. Just use jpgs pleaz. Reply
  • darth_beavis - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Why is there no descriptions for the columns on the graph on pg 2. Are just supposed to guess what the numbers mean? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Yes, Questar, laden with errors. All over the place. Thanks for pointing them out so that they could be corrected. I'm sure that took you quite some time.

    Seriously, though, point them out (other than omissions, as making a complete list of every single variation of every single card would be difficult at best) and we will be happy to correct them provided that they actually are incorrect. And if you really want a card included, send the details of the card, and we can add that as well.

    Regarding the ATI AIW (All In Wonder, for those that don't know) cards, they often varied from the clock and RAM speeds of the standard chips. Later models may have faster RAM or core speeds, while earlier models often had slower RAM and core speeds.
    Reply
  • blckgrffn - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Questar - if you don't like it, leave. The article clearly stated its bounds and did a great job. My $.02 - the 7500 AIW is 64 meg DDR only, unsure of the speed however. Do you want me to check that out? Reply
  • mikecel79 - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    #22 The Geforce256 was released in October of 1999 so this is roughly the last 5 years of chips from ATI and Nvidia. If it were to include all other manufacturers it would be quite a bit longer.

    How about examples of this article being "laden or errors" instead of just stating it.
    Reply

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