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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [10.02.03]
Manufactured by: PowerColor 

Est. Street Price: ~$450

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Sorry, there wasn't a lot of time to perform overclocking tests. But you'll be happy to hear the report of 410 and 375 overclocked speeds with this particular unit. Of course your mileage with overclocking is guaranteed vary, which is why I won't spend a lot of time harping on it.

Let's do some shopping:

PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro: ~$315
PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro 256: ~$450

That is a $135 difference for an extra 128MB of RAM. Although it is running at a slightly higher speed, and using DDRII, the ram just didn't give us a heck of a performance increase.

Sure, we could have exposed a bigger performance difference by using super high resolutions and with max filtering enabled. But when you're below 60 FPS, does it really matter?

At true settings and resolutions, I don't think the 9800 Pro 256 offers enough of a benefit over the regular 9800 Pro. Not for $135!

Of course this will change; as more advanced games are released, the extra memory will come in handy. But by the time that happens, it will probably be time for an upgrade anyway.

If you are still using a DirectX 8 class card, by all means the 9800 Pro is a great way to go! If you have the extra coin, a Pro 256 won't hurt.

In terms of this PowerColor unit specifically, I can't see any reason not to recommend it. It is perfectly stable, and does what it's supposed to. PowerColor did a great job with putting out a solid reference design card!

They also make a 9800 Pro, so keep that in mind if you're in the market :)

  • Very fast!
  • Stable drivers (ATI is getting better!)
  • This unit overclocked quite well...
  • Priced very well compared to ATI's brand 9800 Pro 256
  • Awesome improvement over the 9700 Pro

  • But not such an awesome improvement over the 9800 Pro 128mb
  • Software bundle nothing to get excited over
  • Nothing fance on the card itself - standard reference design.

Final Score: 93%