For installation, I opted for a fresh
format and installation of Windows XP. The card installation
was without any difficulty, and went relatively smooth with
the included driver disk. After installing the card, I
initially tried to start Quake 3, but it did not load. I
installed the latest drivers, and Quake 3 still did not
load. I have never experienced a problem like this with any
graphics card, and I am not sure why this was happening.
Other games based on the Quake 3 engine worked, but for some
reason Quake 3 did not. This is possibly something I could
have worked out with time, but I opted to use some different
benchmarks instead. Other than Quake 3, every game worked
without any problems. I have read other reviews of ATI
products and have not heard of a similar experience.
One other problem I did have was using
1600x1200 resolutions. For some reason, my monitor would not
work with this card (Philips 109s) at this resolution or
anything higher. I tried several hertz settings to no avail.
This could be some freak compatibility issue with Philips
and ATI, but itís something that I never had a previous
problem with. I could still run the card at 1600x1200; I
just couldnít see the entire screen.
The Radeon looks gorgeous on Direct3D
applications, and in my opinion, seemed more crisp and
colorful than other NVIDIA cards. I do not have any
substantial evidence of this, but my eyes saw what they saw,
so you will have to take my word for it. That being said, I
thought OpenGL looked awful in the other hand. That might be
a bit harsh, but to me it looked more pixilated than with
NVIDIA products. Like I said, these are just visual
observations I came up with while running the benchmarks and
during game testing.
The card does come equipped with Hynix
RAM which is considered by many, high quality indeed. I was
able to overclock the card to a 300MHz GPU speed and a
300MHz DDR RAM speed (600MHz effective), anything higher
would produce visual artifacts (from the default 275/275
As expected on a budget card, the RAM is not being cooled
(no ramsinks or anything), Iím pretty sure that some good
heatsinks would have improved memoryís overclockability.
The GPU is a different matter all together though since FIC
glues the heatsink on, so itís very difficult to remove.
Therefore, further cooling of the chip becomes an issue.