ATI Radeon 64MB DDRNov 13th, 2000 | By Archive
ATI Radeon 64MB DDR
: 11/13/00 – 06:59:00 PM
: Video Cards
Manufactor: ATI Technologies
Thanks to MPL for supplying us with the ATI Radeon 64MB DDR!
With all the success that ATI has had in the past, there have been many recent downfalls. Some previous ATI products such as the Rage128 were plagued with not only delayed releases but also poor & buggy drivers. The Rage Fury MAXX had to compete with products from the competitors (like Nvidia, 3Dfx, …) with a lot more performance as a result of these delays. Of course that was enough to keep the real FPS (frames per second) freaks away from ATI products in the recent past & only gain momentum in the OEM and the mobile-chip market.
ATI initially had a pretty good reputation, but I guess ATI itself is to blame about the recent downfalls thanks to the poor & buggy driver support and delayed products. That just wasn’t the thing to do when you got big, extreme performing products like Nvidia’s Geforce (GTS) in the competition.
Luckely for ATI, they have learned from their previous mistakes and have come out with a new contender, the Radeon 256 (codename Rage 6c). Putting the product in the stores at the right time have helped them to steer through the flooded GeForce2 GTS market.
Times seem to be changing for ATI (again), this time (hopefully) for the better …
Powered by the RADEON graphics processing unit (GPU)
64MB of powerful double data rate (DDR) memory
Featuring ATI’s CHARISMA ENGINE, PIXEL TAPESTRY and VIDEO IMMERSION
The most robust integrated Transformation, Clipping and Lighting (T&L)
Accelerates all of today’s top 3D games
Industry leading video playback
Digital Visual Interface (DVI) support available
Supports 3D resolutions (32-bit color) up to 2048×1536
AGP Universal bus (for AGP 2X/4X systems)
Video Capture and TV/VCR-output support
RADEON uses ATI’s RAGE THEATER companion chip for high quality video
encoding and decoding
Full motion video-capture in raw AVI format at 320×240, MPEG-1 compressions at 320×240, MPEG-2 compressions at 640×480 and still image capture
Use video-out to connect your PC to TV or VCR for recording
CHARISMA ENGINE supports full Transformation, Clipping and Lighting (T&L) at 30 million triangles/second peak processing capability for a 10-fold improvement in 3D details
Features ATI’s HYPER Z compression technology for improved performance
3D game characters are brought to life with cutting-edge character animation such as vertex skinning and key frame interpolation
PIXEL TAPESTRY, the RADEON 3D rendering engine, powers an incredible 1.5
Gigatexels per second for unsurpassed graphics performance
DVD Video Playback
ATI’s VIDEO IMMERSION engine allows for adaptive de-interlacing for best quality motion video and text
Process full-frame rate, full-screen DVD or MPEG-2 video
Hardware DVD saves the expense of buying a separate MPEG-2/DVD decoder card and motion compensation allows for DVD decoding with minimum CPU usage
DVI Interface for Flat Panel Support
RADEON features an integrated TMDS transmitter to support digital flat panels
Get all of the incredible 3D and DVD of RADEON with the benefit of flat panels – crisper images, true flat screen, significantly reduced eyestrain and space savings
Intel Pentium II/III/Celeron, AMD K6/Athlon or compatible with AGP 2X or AGP 2X/4X universal slot
Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
DVD playback requires DVD drive
RADEON graphics processing unit (GPU)
64MB of double data rate memory
Operating Systems support
CRT Monitor: 15 pin VGA connector
TV and VCR: S-Video or Composite connector
Register compatible with VGA
BIOS compatible with VESA for super VGA
DDC1/2b/2b+ monitor support
VESA Display Power Management Support
Separate horizontal and vertical synchronization at TTL levels
3D Acceleration Features
HYPER Z technology
PIXEL TAPESTRY architecture
VIDEO IMMERSION technology
Integrated Transformation, Clipping and Lighting
Twin Cache Architecture
True Color Rendering
Triangle Setup Engine
Line & Edge Anti-aliasing
Perspectively Correct Texture Mapping
Z-buffering and Double-buffering
Emboss, Dot Product 3 and Environment bump mapping
Spherical, Dual-Paraboloid and Cubic environment mapping
Fog effects, texture lighting, video textures, reflections, shadows, spotlights, LOD biasing and texture morphing
5-year limited warranty
The specs in detail :
ATi has done well in utilizing many of todays upcoming features. This wide feature list allows the Radeon to stand above the competition when they are used in future games through DirectX 8.
If these rather futuristic features will be really useful or not will depend on the game developers.
ATI has used the terms ‘Charisma Engine’ and ‘Pixel Tapestry’ to describe their feature list which would increase the detail level and the realism of the characters and the environments with no or very little loss of performance.
The Radeon supports all (three) kinds of bump mapping (emboss, dot product 3 and environmental mapped). This adds a great strength to this card as upcoming games will use a mixture of these techniques to be able to supply the user with some great looking graphics with very high complexity.
The Radeon also supports and accelerates all (three) environment-mapping techniques (spherical environment mapping, dual-paraboloid environment mapping and cube environment mapping) which will also be used by game developers in the near future.
The new GPU will carry 6 TMUs, 3 for each pixel-pipeline, which is definately an improvement over its competitors, which will only be using 2 TMU. … If you’re thinking: ‘What the hell did he just say?’, here’s my explanation in human language … When your video card is rendering images for games, cards like the GeForce2 GTS has to pass the a pixel 6 times through its pipelines to accomplish the task compared to Radeon’s 4 passes. This results in a much more effective use of fill-rate and memory bandwith.
And last but certainly not least : The HYPER Z technology
ATI’s Hyper Z technology enables compression of the data going to the Z-buffer and sorts out any unnecessary polygons so that objects that arent visible to the viewer arent rendered. (Why didn’t I think of that before? :)
ATI claims that by using only this technology, they can boost the effective memory bandwidth by about 20%.
First Impressions :
The Radeon provides us with many state of the art features which boost performance very well compared to previous ATI cards. The GPU and memory speeds have been lowered from its original values (200/200 MHz) to 183/183 MHz. The card also features fast DDR RAM. Radeon boards will boast anything between 1.1 and 1.5 Gigatexels per second with a memory bandwidth of about 5 or 6 Gigabytes per second (thanx to their Hyper Z technology).
There’s nothing special or unusual that can be said about the card’s physical look.
The Radeon 256 GPU is located in the center of the card and near the Rage Theatre chip, which provides the Radeon’s outstanding MPEG decoding performance.
ATI has decided to use 5.5 ns Hyundai DDR RAM modules in the 64MB DDR board. They have also equiped to board with an active fan to transfer heat out of the heat sink.
With the small die size (0.18) and so a relatively low heat level, the Radeon surely is the card for overclockers. Heat isn’t the limiting factor anymore. ‘Then what is?’, you might ask. I think the Hyundai DDR RAM modules might do the limiting here. With to use of Powerstrip, I was able to overclock my Radeon core to 220Mhz which is 35Mhz above normal shipping speed. Overclocking the memory was less successful, I did got the Radeon’s DDR RAM speed up to 200Mhz for an effective memory clock speed of 400 MHz.
Let’s take a look on how well or bad this beast performs ….
Benchmarks, Testing and Torturing :
TEST SYSTEM :
|SYSTEM SPECS :|
|CPU||Intel P3-700E @ 980Mhz (7x140Mhz)|
|Chipset||Via Apollo Pro 133A|
|Video||ATI Radeon 64MB DDR|
|Memory||128MB PC133 (2-3-3-5)|
|Harddisk||IBM 20GB UDMA66 @ 7200RPM|
Quake 3 Arena 1.17 Timedemo 1
First a comparison @ 16 BIT …
The least we can say is that the 16bit-performance of the Radeon is very weak. As you can see, the card can’t even pass the GeForce 256 DDR, which can already be considered as an old generation 3D card.
Then @ 32 BIT …
After I saw these results, I was pretty amazed … Because of the very poor 16bit-performance, I didn’t even dare to hope that the 32bit-performance would be better on the Radeon than on the GeForce. But as the graphic shows, the Radeon does a better job on high resolutions than the GeForce. The conclusion about this test is that there is no noticeable difference in FPS between 16 & 32-bit color with the Radeon.
3D Mark 2k :
|3DMark2k default benchmark|
This 3DMark result was to be expected after the previous Quake 3 tests, as this 3DMark test was at 16-bit color which just istn’t the Radeon’s favorite colordepth.
All this shows that the Radeon is ready to take on some tough competition, as long as it is at 32-bit color.
- Excellent 2D quality
- Video in/out capabilities
- Video acceleration
- Amazing 3D acceleration (especially @ 32-bit color)
- Cheaper than the competition
- Some minor driver issues
- Not well documented
- Poor 16-bit performance
Technologies like Hyper Z have pushed this card’s performance close to this of the GeForce family of cards. Especially at higher resolutions and at higher color depths, there are no questions about its performance. The VIVO capabilities that were added to this, already cute, card have paid off in terms of value and quality.
Unlike past ATI-products’ drivers, the Radeon drivers are stable and have very few bugs. With much lower price than the competition and a wonderfull card with futuristic technologies and great performance, ATI might have itself a true winner here!