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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [03.09.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Card manufacturer: Powercolor
GPU Manufacturer: ATI

MSRP: $370
Street: $240-290

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Real-World Benchmarks

DirectX8 - AquaMark

Massive Development's engine is a nice looking one for DirectX8-compliant benchmarking, but will soon be replaced by AquaMark3.0, which will boast full DirectX9 support. 


Both resolutions show an advantage for the RADEON card, though the higher, more stressful resolution shows a much greater advantage. There's just no way to beat the huge amount of bandwidth that the card has to tap.  1024x768x32 may be becoming CPU limited, since the scores are so close.

OpenGL - DroneZ

This is one of my personal favorite benchmarks to watch, because of the quality and artistry of the visual.  It also happens to be a really good benchmark, not only measuring FPS, but allowing us to have a look at triangles generated and amount of T&L/vertex operations performed. 

However, there appears to be a slight difficulty either with DroneZ or ATI's implementation of OpenGL features.  DroneZ was unable to access the shader programs in the RADEON, though it was able to access advanced OpenGL features (just not THAT advanced).  We emailed Powercolor about this issue, and they responded on behalf of ATI, stating that ATI's current focus is on DirectX rather than OpenGL performance, so it's possible that future driver updates will improve things. Currently, the RADEON only support OpenGL vertex and pixel shaders in a few upcoming games, and not in any current Q3 engine game (they will be supported in Doom III, which has yet to be released).  ATI's website gives a list of some games that they support, along with wether or not they support shaders, bump mapping, and TRUFORM.

Still, even though the RADEON doesn't support shaders here, the game looks nice, and obviously gets pretty good performance.  However, the margin is narrower here than in most of our other benchmarks other than Aquamark.  It's possible that ATI's OpenGL implementation needs more optimization as well as improved shader support.


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