Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT


posted 11/17/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
ATi’s latest offering in the Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT offers arguably the fastest graphics available for the PC. If it’s power you want, the Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT is the card to get. Sapphire was nice enough to send us their version of the card entitled Atlantis Radeon 9800XT. Let’s see how it does and how much faster it is over the regular Radeon 9800 Pro.

The Atlantis 9800 Pro XT comes in two flavors: 128MB and 256MB variations. What we have today is the 256MB card. The high end Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT’s R360 core is clocked at 412 MHz and the memory is clocked at 730 MHz. For comparison, the Radeon 9800 Pro’s clock and memory speed are 380 MHz and 700 MHz respectively. It’s still based on a .15 micron process, not the .13 micron used in the Radeon 9600 Pro and there aren’t any new changes over the Radeon 9800 Pro other than higher clock speeds. Below is a comparison table between the two 9800 variants.

Physically, the card is pretty heavy. And from the pictures, the heatsink and fan really sticks out. It’s a large departure from the cooling solution used in the Radeon 9800 Pro. The copper heatsink is actually on both sides of the card. A large fan keeps airflow through to cool the heatsink. The spiral fan is encased in a plastic casing while copper heatsink is covered by a nice picture of the Sapphire logo and grey alien that’s featured on the box cover. Even with the larger cooling solution, the card is still a one slot solution. And the card can throttle the fan speed faster or slower depending on the temperature it detects. It would be a nice picture for the side of a clear Shuttle case to showcase. I was really surprised at how quiet the card was. It won’t drown out the sounds around you and that’s good for people who want a quieter PC.

The bracket has a DVI output, VGA output, and an S-Video out. As per most non-All-in-Wonder Radeon cards, the Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT supports dual monitors. That’s a plus for people like me who program for a living. Developing on two monitors is so much better than one and if you’re also a heavy gamer, the Atlantis Radeon 9800 XT gives you the gaming performance as well as the developer flexibility.
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