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Digital-Daily : Video : fx5900-vs-radeon9800pro

FX5900 vs Radeon9800Pro

Author: Andrey Kuzin
Date: 20.07.2003


The R300 chip (ATI Radeon9700) has become the world's first graphics processor to offer full support for DirectX 9 and to take a lead over its age-old competitor during half a year. What's more, when NV30 (FX5800) finally arrived to the reviewers (while ATI Radeon9700 had been on sale in every computer shop by then) it turned out that by the consumer qualities it wouldn't be a match for ATI Radeon9700. It was really expensive, lost at performance, the driver hadn't been optimized enough for the entirely new FX micro-architecture by then, and the main thing was video cards on its base were heating up and whistling too much.

Nevertheless, nVidia's partnering companies were unanimously demonstrating futurist masterpieces made with NV30 at expos but were strangely reluctant to sell them. The main cause is the card proved too expensive, and the tradeoff for using scarce DDR-II memory was prohibitive. Even on the condition that nVidia had to sell NV30 chips at a loss! As they say, the prestige is above any price.

The miseries were lasting for half a year. They were trying to switch NV30 to the professional sector Quadro where prices as high as $1000 is a norm, with NV35 (FX5900) declared as a new king of the hill. In response to that, ATI released two new Radeon9800Pro video cards based on the R350 chip.

The current stage of competition between ATI and nVidia looks like this:

Level nVidia ATI
Hi-End FX5900 (NV35) Radeon 9800
Middle FX5600 (NV31) Radeon 9600
Low-End FX5200 (NV34) Radeon 9200

The inquisitive reader might easily point to the lack of NV35 on sale, while Radeon9800Pro has been on sale for a month. That's true, but let's be indulgent. If NV35 has been sent out to testers, it means the video card does exist and let's hope it will not suffer the fate of its predecessor, and the production in sufficient quantities will be arranged anyway.

Gigabyte 9800Pro versus ASUS V9950

Today we'll be taking a closer look at both rivals. ASUS' V9950 128Mb (GF5900) has been called up to uphold the honor of nVidia. For ATI, two versions of R9800Pro - 128 and 256 MB - made by Gigabyte come into play. These cards are in a way "reference boards" since their core speed values fully match those recommended.

VGA Gigabyte RADEON 9800 PRO Asus V9950
Core R350 NV35
Process technology, (mk) 0.15 0.13
Q-ty of transistors 110 mln 130 mln
Core speed 380MHz 400MHz
Pixel pipelines 8 8 (or 4)
Fill Rate (Mpixels/s) 3,040 3,600 or (1,800)
Texture units per pipeline 1 1 (or 2)
Textures processed per Texture Unit 8 to 16 8 to 16
Memory speed 340MHz
(680MHz DDR)
(850MHz DDR)
Memory bus DDR 256-bit 256-bit
Memory bandwidth 21.8GB/s 27.2GB/s
Proprietary technologies
  • SMOOTHVISION 2.1 - Color Compression (up to 6:1 ratio
  • HYPER Z III + : Z-Compression (up to 24:1 ratio) and Z-cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
  • TRUFORM 2.0
  • CineFX 2.0 Engine
  • LMA II
  • Intellisample HCT Technology - Color and Z-Compression (up to 4:1 ratio)
  • Pixel shaders 2.0 2.0+
    Vertex shaders 2.0+ 2.0+
    FSAA mode (max) up to 6x up to 8x
    AF mode (max) up to 16x up to 8x
    Support for DirectX
    DirectX 9.0
    Additional features
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant)
  • VideoShader
  • HydraVision
  • Dual integrated 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Video Mixing Renderer (VMR)
  • Extended programmability with Cg
  • nView
  • DVC 3.0
  • Content:

  • Specifications
  • Differences of the generations
  • Benchmarking methods
  • Benchmarking results
  • Conclusions

  • Top Stories:

    ECS X58B-A (Intel X58)
    ASUS Rampage II Extreme (Intel X58)
    MSI DKA790GX and ECS A780GM-A Ultra
    MSI P7NGM (NVIDIA GeForce 9300)
    Intel X58 and ASUS P6T Deluxe
    MSI P45 Neo2 (Intel P45)
    Foxconn A7GMX-K (AMD 780G)
    VGA Card:

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 – a new leader in 3D graphics!
    ECS HYDRA GeForce 9800GTX+. Water-cooled and SLI "all-in-one"
    Radeon HD 4830 CrossFire - better than Radeon HD 4870!
    XFX GeForce GTX 260 Black Edition in the SLI mode
    Leadtek WinFast PX9500 GT DDR2 – better than GeForce 9500GT DDR-3
    Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic: exclusive, with unusual features
    Palit HD 4850 Sonic: almost Radeon HD 4870, priced as HD 4850
    CPU & Memory:

    GSkill high-capacity memory modules
    CPU Intel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield)
    DDR3 memory: late 2008
    CPU AMD Phenom X3 8750 (Toliman)
    AMD Phenom X4 9850 – a top-end CPU at affordable price
    CPU Intel Atom 230 (Diamondville)
    Chaintech Apogee GT DDR3 1600

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