Not long after the ATI Radeon SDR began to appear on store shelves, a new and mysterious ATI product began to find its way into some e-stores. Bearing the inventory label of the Radeon LE, the product name was unrecognized by both members of the press as well as ATI themselves. Businesses selling the product proclaimed it a slightly slower version of the Radeon DDR that could be had at a price much sweeter than that of the Radeon DDR. As rumors surrounding the product spread like wild fire, it was only natural that customers remained wary of the "unannounced" card. There were, however, a few brave souls who put down the initial price of around $100 to find out what exactly the Radeon LE was.
Those who ended up with the card were originally disappointed. Although the card featured the same memory and apparently the same chip as the Radeon DDR, it's performance was not up to par. Add to this the fact that only a passive cooling system is available and the card is only to be found on OEM markets, and it is easy to understand why it took some time before people attempted to investigate exactly what was behind the Radeon LE.
Luckily, a group of technical savvy users set out figure out what is actually behind the Radeon LE label. With ATI refusing to comment on the cards and their almost spontaneous appearance, a select group of people began posting to news groups their impressions of the Radeon LE. It was not long after that discussion groups like our own AnandTech Forums began to become filled with messages on how to make the $71 Radeon LE perform identically to a $139 Radeon DDR.
The directions remained, for the most part, reserved to those who know a good deal about video cards. Pair this problem up with the fact that there remains very little professional documentation on how the Radeon LE performs in its native as well as tweaked state, and it became clear that something had to be done. That is why today we bring you all the information you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about the Radeon LE, including how it performs out of the box, if it is possible to achieve Radeon DDR speeds with the card, and just exactly where Radeon LEs come from. Read on as we take you through the paces of the budget card that could.