ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB

By acidosmosis ยท 15 replies
Jul 18, 2003
  1. See all of this article at

    If you think the only new card we have in our hands is the GeForceFX 5900 Ultra, you've got another thing coming. ATI is also introducing a 256MB version of their Radeon 9800 Pro:

    ATI had to double the number of memory chips on the board and moved to 350MHz DDR-II SDRAM, up from the original 340MHz DDR-I SDRAM used on the 128MB Radeon 9800 Pro. Despite the increase in memory clock, the move to more memory chips actually reduced performance a bit (the 256-bit bus now must be split among twice as many chips, which does create some overhead) and when combined with the increased memory clock the end result is that the Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB is no faster in most cases than the 128MB version.

    Twice as much memory, twice as many chips, a higher memory clock - but identical performance to the 128MB card is what the $499 Radeon 9800 Pro will get you

    We encountered some memory artifacts at random periods during our testing of the Radeon 9800 Pro, especially during our Doom3 testing. We're assuming this is due to the engineering sample nature of our review hardware and that ATI will fix the issue before mass production.
  2. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    yeah, and it sucks, acid

    it can barely........and i mean barely, beat the 128's a worthless card........economically speaking , for what you get in return.....even anand, said he couldn't see justification for the is this particular card, that nvidia has regained the lead, for whatever reason the 256 iteration of the 9800 pro, just doesn't perform significantly enough over it's sibling, the 128 version the way, on a cost per performance basis, is probably the best buy
  3. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    If by chance I purchase a 9800, it won't be the 256MB version unless I hear of some large improvements with drivers or hardware changes :D
  4. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    I agree, I expected the card to do much better then the 128MB version at higher resolutions like 1600x1200. Odd huh.
  5. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Not really, "odd", if you read the article I posted :-D. It actually explains why pretty well, which is why I thoght it would be good information to post.

    Kind of makes you think a lot. More memory isnt always better.
  6. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,675   +991

    The extra RAM doesn't do much in terms of performance, at least not in current games and most likely won't until mid 2004, depends a lot in how games/apps are developed and optimized, of course.

    Now, if you play manufacturers' game, selling 256mb boards will transform into sales to the average uninformed user: "hey I heard this Radeon 9800 is pretty fast, hmmm... but this NVIDIA has double RAM!"
  7. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Didnt really read it, just looked at the benchies :p
  8. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    I hope everyone saw the date this was posted by's several months old now:D
  9. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    What do you mean? Well I mean, how does that affect anything? Whats the big deal about it being a bit old?
  10. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Which really makes no difference. There haven't been any changes in technology lately that would take full advantage of the 256MB.

    I see your from Ft. Myers. I lived in Tampa Bay for a year in 2000-2001 ;-). Was also there last week from the 6th-14th.
  11. PreservedSwine

    PreservedSwine TS Rookie Posts: 325

    Specifically, the benchmarks...

    Driver revisions have changed quite a bit...not to mention the changing of the reference clockspeeds of the 5900U on some models. (EVGA has turned them down quite bit)

    The 5900U and R9800256 were both brand new, and the models tested were not store bought, they were each sent to the review site by the manufacturer..may not exactly representative of what you and I may buy in a store.

    I prefer reviews after the card is widley availbale, and I know that the review I'm getting is from the same card I;m considering...:)

    EDIT: Just wanted to add my name in the hat of people who think the 256 R9800 is w waste of $$:D
  12. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    the new memory controller

    did post a significant boost in the nvidia card, hence, if you want the fastest card available, nvidia has bragging rights...........sure, there are games that favor the radeon, and, i'd have to admit, the choices are not so clear cut, but, if you had money to burn, and the wanted the fastest card.........the 5900/256 would be your choice..........currently............even at lower clock speeds.........if overclocked, .........the card steps away from the field.......and, the prices are dropping
  13. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    JSR, man, how many times are you going to change your avatar? :)
  14. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592


  15. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    hehehe, man, i've been thinking the same thing! Its kinda cool tho, always wondering whats gonna be next ;)
  16. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Just a couple of points (which I guess most of you are aware of, but still)...

    1. That the D3 results are showing the exact same results for the 128mb and 256mb 9800p isn't too strange... They used Cat 3.2 which only uses 128mb of ram even if the card has more... (But my guess is that we would only have seen a small increase in the higher res. with AA)

    2. They tested D3 with an un-optimised driver? Am I the only one who is reacting to this? What with everything Nvidia is doing to make sure their drivers won't be subjected to any Anti-Detect scripts or alternate versions... But then again, it could be true, as I don't have any evidence...

    3. Well, they finally managed to remove the SplinterCell part of the review... I think it took about a month after they were alerted to the false results...

    Aside from that, and the fact that I've lost some of my "faith" in Anand's it was a fairly good review...

    Oh, and yes, the 5900U 256mb is currently the fastest card out there in most games used to benchmark with...
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