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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.29.00]
Manufactured by: ATI
MSRP: $299

Supplied by ICI Computer


Taking it to the Macc - err Maxx

With all the madness over the last few weeks about ATI's Radeon, 3dfx's Voodoo5, and NVidia's GeForce 2, let's take a moment to have a look at a product that is actually IN STORES right now.  With the exception of the GeForce 2, we won't be seeing these products for at least a couple weeks.

The ATI Rage Fury Maxx has been available in stores now, since early this year.  It retails for roughly the same price as a GeForce SDR, and only about $30 cheaper than a DDR.

It sure looks impressive, doesn't it?

Originally, ATI's Rage Fury Pro card was their big hardcore gaming video card based on their ATI Rage 128 Pro chipset.  The Rage Fury Pro by itself ran at speeds lower than a Vanilla TNT2, G400, Voodoo3, and pretty much every other competing product; it was even slower, comparatively, in 16 bit apps.  To spice things up a bit, ATI introduced their proprietary Maxx technology, which like 3dfx's SLI technology, allows the use of more than one graphics processor at a time.  Maxx stands for Multiple Accelerator (or Axxelerator, as we apparently spell it here in Canada).

ATI's Maxx technology is slightly different from 3dfx's though; they use Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR).  Here's how they explain it on the Rage Fury Maxx FAQ:

ATI has developed a multiple chip parallel processing technique that works within MAXX implementation called Alternate Frame Rendering or AFR. In the AFR process, one chip renders even frames while the other chip renders odd frames. Each chip processes triangle setup for its own frame without waiting for the other chip making AFR the more efficient multiple chip processing technique.

Wondering how it compares to SLI?

3Dfx's SLI's technique:
One chip draws out even lines of an image and the other chip draws out the odd lines of the image. This technique is inefficient because both chips process triangle set up on one frame.

Unlike SLI, AFR processes separate frames.

So with two chips running in tandem, the fill rate is brought to approximately 500 MPixels/Sec, which allows it to compete directly with the GeForce; the price should also indicate that.

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