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Powercolor ATi Radeon 9800 XT Video Card Review

Price: $499


The competition in the graphics industry today is very competitive and fierce. NVidia was on top of the competition a couple of years ago, while ATi was right on their heels. Over the past year and a half the tides have turned, and now ATi has the most sought after video cards for gamers. Nvidia tried unsucessfully to get back on top and they even went far as to cheat on benchmarking programs like 3DMark03 by lowering the image quality to improve performance. ATi has also done some "cheating" (or some may call it "optimizing") to boost scores in 3Dmark03 as we reported in May of this year. They did however admit to this and said they never would do it again. The competitors are in an all out battle to get on top or to stay on top in the graphics industry. When it gets down to it, it's hard to believe either one of the company's since they have both been shady in the past. The only accurate way of knowing who has the better card is to run extensive testing of real world games and comparing the image quality to the competitor's card.

Today, we're looking at the Radeon 9800 XT video card from Powercolor. The 9800 XT has a core clock speed of 412 MHz, a mere 32 MHz increase from the 9800Pro. The memory clock on the 9800 XT is at 730 MHz, a 50 MHz increase from the 9800Pro and both have a memory bandwidth of 23.3GB/Sec. The small increase in clock speeds is a sure sign that ATi is reaching the limits of the 0.15-micron process.

What's Included

  • Radeon 9800 XT
  • S-Video Cable
  • Composite (RCA) Cable
  • DVI-I-to-VGA Connector
  • User Manual

    Gaming Bundle    
  • Half-Life 2   
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness   
  • Big Mutha Truckers    
  • Tom Clancy Splinter Cell    
  • Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos    
  • Will Rock    
  • Breed    
  • Corlin McRae Ralley 3    
  • ROCA Race Driver
  • ATI Drivers CD
  • InterVideo WinDVD 4

The software bundled came with one CD choc full of games, but they were all demos. The demo's include: Splinter Cell, Warcraft II, Will Rock, Breed, Corlin McRae Ralley 3, and ROCA Race Driver. The only full version games included were; Big Mutha Truckers and Tomb Raider: The Angle of Darkness, and it was the only one worth keeping. There was also InterVideo WinDVD 4 that was included, which is great software but I already have about 10 of these :) However, let's not forget about the full version Half-Life 2 game you get! I think it should make up for the other crummy games that are included (besides Tomb Raider). Once you have bought your Powercolor Radeon 9800 XT, you can then fill out a form on the Powercolor website and they'll send you a coupon to redeem a Half-Life 2 for free!

  1. Introduction & What's Included
  2. In-depth Look
  3. Catalyst 3.8 Drivers
  4. Catalyst 3.8 Drivers (Continued)
  5. Test Suite & Setup
  6. Benchmark: X2
  7. Benchmark: UT2K3
  8. Benchmark: Halo
  9. Benchmark: Gun Metal
  10. Benchmark: 3DMark03
  11. Benchmark: Aquamark 3
  12. Benchmark: Shadermark 2.0
  13. Benchmark: Code Creatures
  14. Overclocking & Conclusion
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