Improved 9600 specs
At the heart of the ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 PRO is an improved version of ATIís RADEON 9600 PRO. The RADEON 9600 PRO is ATIís latest DirectX 9 offering for the mainstream segment. Unlike the RADEON 9800 PRO/9500 PRO, which both feature eight pixel pipes; the RADEON 9600 PRO features a four-pixel pipeline architecture with one texture unit per pixel pipeline. By reducing the number of pixel pipelines, ATI is able to save transistors at the expense of giving up some fill-rate (performance). This makes the RV350 core the RADEON 9600 PRO is based on cheaper to produce.
To help offset some of the performance the 4-pixel pipeline architecture gives up to the 9500 PRO, ATI has cranked the clock speed up to 400MHz. In comparison, the RADEON 9500 PRO operates at 275MHz. Part of the reason ATI is able to clock the RV350 core so high is because itís based on TSMCís 0.13-micron manufacturing process, previous ATI cores were built on 0.15-micron. By moving to a small process, the graphics core consumes less power, and thus it generates less heat. When you couple this with the significantly reduced transistor count (60 million versus 110 million) ATI is able to clock the core high without a significant amount of heat output. The lower transistor count and smaller manufacturing process also means ATI can produce the cores at a significantly lower cost.
Finally, ATI has improved its HYPERZ occlusion-culling technology with the RV360 core. While previous RADEON products support 6:1 Z compression, RADEON 9600 supports a higher 8:1 compression ratio. This essentially increases the RADEON 9600 PROís effective memory bandwidth.
The cores may be similar,
but the board designs aren't
Video connector and VIVO module
Speaking of memory bandwidth, this is one area the ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 PRO exceeds the specifications of its desktop counterpart, the RADEON 9600 PRO. While both cards sport 128-bit interfaces to their DDR memory (128MB in the case of the ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 PRO), the ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 PRO features 325MHz memory (650MHz effective) versus 300MHz memory in the RADEON 9600 PRO. This change nets the ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 PRO an additional 800MB/sec of memory bandwidth, 10.4GB/sec versus 9.6GB/sec.
This marks the first time ATIís ALL-IN-WONDER part exceeded the specs of the desktop variant itís based on.