Well, let’s sum up the results for our today’s testing participants and try to estimate the benefits of each considered solution from the overclocker’s point of view.
- ATI RADEON 9800 XT. Those of you who are looking for maximum performance in contemporary games and who are ready to invest into the upgrade of your PC system, should take a closer look at this solution. It is the today’s top-end graphics card, an indisputable performance leader. No more comments are necessary here.
- ATI RADEON 9800 PRO. This solution used to be ahead of ATI’s army before the RADEON 9800 XT appeared. The performance of the PRO is just a little lower than that of the previous solution. However, when RADEON 9800 XT came out the prices for the PRO went notably down, which makes them a good buy in the expensive graphics cards category.
If you overclock RADEON 9800 PRO, it will be as fast as RADEON 9800 XT, which makes the PRO even more attractive.
- ATI RADEON 9800 SE 256bit. This is a cut-down version, which can potentially be turned into a fully-fledged RADEON 9800. Further overclocking allows speeding these graphics cards up to the level of RADEON 9800 PRO, and if the overclocking potential of the card appears not just good, but excellent, then you will be able to speed it up even beyond the level of RADEON 9800 PRO.
Important! Far not all RADEON 9800 SE 256bit based graphics cards can be turned into RADEON 9800, that is why if you are about to buy a RADEON 9800 SE for further modification, make sure that you will have the opportunity to try at least a couple of graphics cards and check their performance as thoroughly as possible, so that you could return or exchange them in case they appear not suitable for further modification.
If you are planning to get a RADEON 9800 SE for use as is, then think twice. Does it make sense to buy a card, which is much slower than RADEON 9600 XT selling for the same money?
- ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128bit. This is one more version of RADEON 9800 SE, but with a 128bit memory bus. You shouldn’t completely disregard these solutions, as they also have the chance to be turned into a fully-fledged RADEON 9800, just like the previously discussed 256bit model. However, everything I have just said about the 256bit model is also true for this one. Moreover, the price of these graphics cards is usually not that much lower than that of 9800 SE with 256bit memory access, while the performance is very often much worse (see our tests). So if you were planning to buy a RADEON 9800 SE 128bit without any intention to enable all of its 8 pipelines, then you should definitely think of a better way to spend your money.
- ATI RADEON 9600 XT. This mainstream solution easily outperforms non-modified RADEON 9800 SE based products. Due to all the advantages of the ATI’s graphics architecture, this solution will be at least not any slower than NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra in most applications, and in those games that use complex DierctX9 pixel shaders this VPU will be a worthy competitor to even more powerful NVIDIA’s chips.
RADEON 9600 XT is an excellent buy instead of a RADEON 9800 SE, if you do not want to take the risks modifying the cards or do not belong to NVIDIA fans.