By now you’re probably familiar with the RADEON 9700 PRO and its architecture, so we won’t bore you with the details. If you would like a recap however you should refer back to our preview and review articles from last year. Here’s a quick list of the GV-R9700’s specs:
RADEON™ 9700 PRO Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
SMARTSHADER 2.0 allows users to experience complex, movie-quality effects in next-generation 3D games and applications
SMOOTHVISION™ 2.0 technology enhances image quality by removing jagged edges and bringing out fine texture detail, without compromising performance
96-bit floating-point color precision allows for a greater range of colors and brightness
128MB of double data rate memory(DDR)
AGP 8X Interface
V-Tuner Tweaker supported, can overclock your VPU and Memory speed
D-Sub, S-Video, DVI-I Outputs provided
Bundle Software package: CyberLink PowerDVD XP, Serious Sam, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2, Rune, Motocross Mania, 4X4 EVO and Oni (in 1 CD, Lite version)
As you see above, Gigabyte includes a few goodies in the RADEON 9700 PRO packaging. You’ll also get a few games -- Serious Sam, F.A.K.K.2, Rune, and Motocross Mania, as well as demo versions of Oni and 4x4 EVO. Personally the best part of the bundle to us is PowerDVD XP, as all the aforementioned games are pretty dated and are inexpensive nowadays even if you were interested in them. Hopefully Gigabyte will work on their game bundle for their upcoming RADEON products.
In addition to the software bundle, Gigabyte also includes its V-Tuner tweaking utility. V-Tuner is wrapped in a nice-looking graphical user interface and is used to adjust graphics core and memory clock frequencies, just like a utility like Powerstrip. V-Tuner gets the job done well and we’re glad to see Gigabyte including this utility for its users as many of the first generation RADEON 9700 cards shipped without this feature, including ATI’s own RADEON 9700 PRO.
Gigabyte's V-Tuner overclocking utility
One feature we would like to see however is some form of indication of the severity of the overclock. For instance, Powerstrip has green, yellow, and red regions next to the core and memory sliders, and while they certainly can’t be counted on completely, they do give “green” overclockers a frame of reference to compare too. All to often you see inexperienced users who just don’t know much about overclocking; that includes knowing when to stop. If more overclocking utilities provided some frame of reference for these users it sure would cut down the email load on our inbox, and make overclocking a little easier for these people.
As you can see in the screenshot above, we were able to overclock our GV-R9700 PRO Maya II card to 378MHz core/344MHz memory, making this one of the best overclocking experiences we’ve had to date.