RADEON 9700 PRO Visual Processing Unit (VPU) with core engine @325Mhz
Eight parallel rendering pipelines
Four parallel geometry engines
256-bit DDR memory interface
AGP 8X support
Programmable pixel and vertex shaders – 16 textures per pass
Supports DirectX 9.0 and the latest version of OpenGL
2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes
2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes
Adaptive algorithm with bi-linear (performance) and tri-linear (quality) options
HYPER Z III
FULLSTREAM video de-blocking technology
Dual integrated display controllers
Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
If you follow the PC hardware market closely, chances are you are probably already pretty familiar with the ATI RADEON 9700 PRO core that powers the PowerColor Evil Commando II so we’ll briefly go over some of the highlights. If you’re looking for more background information on the chip, please refer back to our original preview article of the technology from earlier this year.
One of the key aspects that allows’ the RADEON 9700 PRO to stand out from previous graphics accelerators is its next generation feature set. This includes the 128-bit floating-point pipeline that the RADEON 9700 PRO contains. By moving to 128 bits, color ranges can be much more vibrant, resulting in images that look much more lifelike. ATI’s natural light demo is a perfect example of the difference this can make, the dull hues of orange, brown, and gray come alive on RADEON 9700 PRO.
But it doesn’t stop there, 9.0 pixel and vertex shaders are much more powerful than their predecessors, and new commands such as loops and subroutines make life much easier for content developers. Rather than having to write multiple shaders to produce one effect (circa DirectX 8 days), one 9.0 shader can be written and repeated to create the same final effect.
Of course, DirectX 9 titles are still many, many months away from release at the soonest. With this in mind, the RADEON 9700 PRO core is built to drive existing games to new heights of performance.
For starters, RADEON 9700 PRO boasts a fill rate of 2.6 Gigapixels/second, just over twice that of GeForce4 Ti 4600’s 1.2 Gigapixels/second. It is also capable of pumping out 325 million vertices/second, nearly two and a half times that of GeForce4 Ti 4600. With such a powerful core, this would mean nothing if it didn’t have the memory subsystem to keep it fed with data. To accomplish this, ATI has implemented a 256-bit memory interface (an industry first) running at 310MHz (effectively 620MHz) resulting in a memory bandwidth peak of 19.2GB/sec.
This means that RADEON 9700 PRO owners can crank up the screen resolution, texture detail, anisotropic filtering, and even anti-aliasing without having to worry about poor frame rates in today’s games. Eye candy goodies such as these used to bring graphics accelerators to their knees, the RADEON 9700 PRO barely breaks a sweat in comparison.