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Monday, July 31, 2000

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Radeon Review at GameCenter
6:53 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Amid all the well-deserved hype over the 3dfx Voodoo5 5500 and the scandal between Steve Jobs and ATI at the Macworld Expo earlier this month, many have written-off the Radeon, ATI's next big thing. Although the scandal was a temporary setback to ATI's plans, it by no means changed the fact that a card based on the Radeon chip will indeed make it to the Mac platform, in both AGP and PCI versions.

Gamecenter recently posted a review of this card, and found its performance and features to be a pleasant surprise - long condemned as an also-ran, ATI seems to have finally created a card that can not only run with the big boys of the PC world, but beat them to the finish line as well. With dozens of advanced features and unmatched visual quality, the Radeon was a solid performer in both Direct3D and OpenGL. Here's an excerpt from the review:

In the interest of full disclosure, we have to confess that as much as we try to be totally impartial before we test a product, it's not always possible. Case in point: the ATI representative who sent us our card also gave us what sounded like a verbal disclaimer. The Radeon, he told us, won't truly shine in low-res/low-color depth benchmarks; it's only competitive at high res and/or color. It's never good when a PR representative warns you about something, so--here's the confession--we cringed, we rolled our eyes, and we fully expected another typical ATI product: a nice SOHO card with sweet video performance, but with 3D acceleration that wouldn't touch current gaming cards.

For his part, the PR representative in question was telling the truth. The Radeon didn't stand much of a chance against other cards in low-res/low-color scenarios, although it nevertheless ran the benchmarks at playable frame rates. Once we cranked up the detail, however, the Radeon was suddenly giving the GeForce2 GTS a run for its money, and the Voodoo5 5500 couldn't keep up.

This is not the identical card that ATI will be bringing to the Mac OS; currently there are only plans to bring the midrange 32 MB card to our platform, albeit in both AGP and PCI varieties. However, 64 MB is overkill for all but the most demanding games.

As you might have noticed from our Voodoo5 5500 preview, Mac users have recently received a reality check as to what frame rates we might expect from next-generation cards in our systems. The jury is still out as to whether the lower frame rates we experienced were due to ported game's, Apple's motherboard structure or the immature drivers of the card, but the end result was the same, regardless. However, we are very eager to see the Radeon in action, as the card itself has several built-in functions that are designed specifically to overcome the handicaps of bus bandwidth and CPU speed. Currently the Mac Radeon cards are expected in September, with AGP version shipping first, followed by PCI versions. Check out the review for more information.

Radeon Review at Gamecenter
Radeon AGP

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