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ATI RADEON 9800 SE 128bit

Graphics cards based on RADEON 9800 SE and equipped with 128bit memory bus are based on RADEON 9500 PRO reference design. Today we will take a look at the card from Sapphire representing this item of ATI product range.

This graphics card differs from RADEON 9500 PRO only by the stickers and the cooler shape: coolers like that are usually installed onto All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO based graphics cards. To tell the truth, I got the impression that they assembled this least expensive graphics card from the RADEON 9800/9800 SE family of the parts that were left in the warehouse. :)

The card is equipped with 128MB graphics memory from Samsung with 3.3ns cycle time (Samsung K4D263238E-GC33). The nominal working frequencies of the graphics processor and graphics memory appeared lower than those of RADEON 9800 SE 256bit. Namely, they were 275MHz for the chip and 540MHz for the memory.

RADEON 9800 SE with 128bit memory bus can also be modified, i.e. it is possible to enable all 8 pixel pipelines and HyperZ III. However, if the modified graphics cards with 256bit memory could be called fully-fledged RADEON 9800 solutions, then the 8-pipeline RADEON 9800 with 128bit memory bus do not exist in the market and there is no DeviceID for them.

Anyway, this fact will never stop us from enabling everything possible in the RADEON 9800 SE 128bit with the help of Rivatuner utility and obtaining a RADEON 9800 with 128bit memory access. In fact, this is almost a complete analogue of the RADEON 9500 PRO, which also features 8 pixel pipelines and 128bit memory bus.

I have to confess that the modification of the graphics card we had at our disposal appeared not absolutely successful. When we turned our chip into RADEON 9800, i.e. when we enabled all 8 pixel pipelines and HyperZ III, we noticed a missing image square at the top of the screen approximately 8x8 pixels big in all games. This is direct evidence that this graphics processor was assigned for RADEON 9800 SE 128bit solution because of the defective part of cache for the low-resolution Z-buffer. Besides this missing square we revealed no other unpleasant surprises throughout the entire test session.

The incorrect display of 64 pixels hardly told on the image processing speed (I even took the trouble of calculating that 64 pixels occupy only 0.008% of the screen area for 1024x768 resolution). That is why I decided that there is no need to replace this graphics card with a different one and disregarded the revealed artifact this time, especially since we are going to consider the performance and not the image quality that much today.

The overclocking of this graphics card appeared really pleasing: the maximum chip and memory frequencies when the card remained stable equaled 390MHz for the chip and 700MHz for the memory, which means that we managed to speed up the core by 42% and the graphics memory by a little less than 30%. This is an excellent result, I should say!

But let’s not make any preliminary announcements: I suggest that we find out first how greatly the performance of this highly overclockable “new RADEON 9500 PRO” solution will be limited by the narrow 128bit memory bus.

 
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