And what about the graphics accelerator itself? In fact, there is nothing outstanding to be mentioned about its exterior: it is identical to ATI’s reference solution and looks like this:
The thing is that Club3D doesn’t produce any graphics cards, but orders them from ATI Technologies and some other manufacturers, and then sells them under Club3D brand name, if the equipment meets the quality requirements. As you can see, even the stickers with ATI’s logo haven’t been removed from the PCB:
Is this good or bad? Well, probably there is nothing bad about it, except the cooling system used on this card, which we consider not powerful enough for the R350 VPU. Also, we should mention the absence of the heatsinks on the memory chips, which heat up quite significantly. Among the positive things we should definitely mention very high-quality mounting, excellent 3D performance and 2D image quality. Now let’s take a closer look at the card. Here is the chip hiding under the cooler:
As you know, unlike RADEON 9700, the cooler of this product features a special lug, which ensures very tight contact with the chip surface. The thermal interface between the chip and the cooler is a layer of thermal paste, and not the so much disliked “chewing gum”.
By the way, the cooler heatsink features four cuts for better airflow. It definitely helps to cool down the chip much better, though the card still remains too warm. The power supply connector is fastened very nicely: the additional hooks will prevent you from ripping it off altogether and the 12V power cable looks much more reliable than Molex connector, which is usually used for 3.5” floppy drives.
The PCB is equipped with 8 Samsung K4D26323RA-GC2A memory chips supporting 2.8ns access time. The memory works at 340MHz (680MHz) frequency, which is a little lower than the nominal 350MHz (700MHz). However, despite this fact, the memory chips heat up a lot. The VPU works at 380MHz.
2D Image Quality and Overclocking
We liked the 2D image quality provided by this graphics adapter a real lot: the picture remained very clear-cut up to 1600x1200x85Hz resolution and only in the next 1800x1400 resolution we noticed slight blurring.
Before we sat down to our overclocking experiments, we undertook a few security precautions: I installed an additional 92mm cooler blowing the air onto the heatsink and the memory chips. This cooler was really very important, because at higher working frequencies, the card did heat up quite tangibly. After a few tries, the graphics core managed to work stably at 445MHz and the memory – at 378MHz (756MHz). Well, this is not bad at all for a graphics processor made with 0.15micron technology and for the memory with the nominal working frequency of 350MHz (700MHz). I would like to warn all overclocking enthusiasts once again: don’t try to repeat our experiment without ensuring proper cooling for this solution. If you disregard this important issue, you may cause damage of your graphics accelerator, because the thermal mode of Club3D RADEON 9800 PRO can hardly be called favorable even at the nominal frequencies. Those of you who dare undertake some overclocking attempts, we strongly recommend to install heatsinks onto the memory chips.
Now let’s pass over to the actual performance results of Club3D RADEON 9800 PRO graphics card.