The 8500LE chipset
ATI RADEON 8500LE chipset
64MB DDR memory
SMARTSHADER™ technology: new programmable Vertex Shaders & Pixel Shaders
Fully DirectX® 8.1 & OpenGL®1.3 compliant
CHARISMA ENGINE™ II: second generation hardware accelerated T&L engine
SMOOTHVISION™ : Highly efficient anti-aliasing available (true multi-sampling anti-aliasing)
TRUFORM™: revolutionary technology for transforming triangles into curved surfaces
High-quality TV encoder on NTSC & Pal / TV sets supporting resolutions of up to 1024x768
PowerDVD and 3Deep software included
As you can see, the 3D Prophet FDX 8500LE is based on the ATI RADEON 8500LE chipset. The RADEON 8500LE differs from the original RADEON 8500 in the clock speeds it runs at. While the core clock frequency of the original RADEON 8500 is 275MHz, the core of the 8500LE operates at 250MHz, beyond this; things can get a bit tricky. For added flexibility, ATI’s customers can select the memory speeds and types of their 8500LE products on their own.
This allows them to customize their particular 8500LE product(s) in order to meet their specific needs from a cost perspective. In Hercules’ case, the 3D Prophet FDX 8500LE utilizes 64MB of four nanosecond DDR SDRAM operating at 240MHz (in comparison to 275MHz on the original RADEON 8500). Therefore, the 8500LE gives up a little bit of performance in fill-rate and memory bandwidth. As you’ll see in our benchmarks, this will really show up at high resolutions.
Besides the clock speed differences, the 8500LE only contains one RAMDAC, so the 3D Prophet FDX 8500LE doesn't natively support dual monitors. ATI’s TRUFORM, SMOOTHVISION, and high advanced SMARTSHADER technologies are all present in the 8500LE. Video buffs will also be glad to know that the 8500LE sports ATI’s Rage Theater chip. The Rage Theater chip is responsible for the excellent video encoding/decoding ATI cards are so well known for.
Rage Theater chip onboard
At the beginning of February, ATI announced it would begin production of 128MB RADEON 8500 and RADEON 8500LE boards. Therefore, we are a bit surprised that the 3D Prophet FDX 8500LE only ships with 64MB of memory. Of course, the added 64MB of memory won’t come into play until you’re playing at high resolutions and/or playing a game with large textures.