9800 PRO specifications
We wonít bore you with a million details on the inner workings of the RADEON 9800 PRO, chances are by now that youíre already intimately familiar with those details. Just in case though, we will provide you with the Cliffís Notes.
The key improvements ATI has incorporated in the 9800 PRO are the improved clock speeds, 380MHz core/340MHz memory for the RADEON 9800 PRO, versus 325MHz core/310MHz memory in the RADEON 9700 PRO. On the shading side of the equation, ATI has incorporated a new F-buffer in the 9800 PRO core, acting as an enhanced form of cache memory that allows the 9800 PRO to support fragment shader programs of unlimited length as well as enhancing its effective memory bandwidth.
ATI has also enhanced the 9800 PROís memory controller and introduced an improved Z cache that has been optimized for use with stencil buffers. This will boost performance in games that use shadows extensively. For more details on the rest of the changes, please refer back to our RADEON 9800 PRO review.
Can you spot the FIC card?
Front of the A98P card
The back of the car
FICís RADEON 9800 PRO
Taking a look at FICís A98P card, we see that itís built entirely on ATIís reference design. To be honest, this shouldnít come as too much of a surprise, producing a card as complex as the RADEON 9800 PRO is an expensive process in the first place. In fact, many card manufacturers donít have the infrastructure to build their own RADEON 9800 PRO cards, relying on ATI or another third party instead. When you factor in the added development time to engineer a card superior to ATIís reference board (and the fact that ATIís product cycle is now just six months) itís no surprise to see the first generation of cards simply stick with the implementation ATI has already developed.
A quick glance of FICís A98P webpage reveals that they also offer another RADEON 9800 PRO card that ships with a gold-plated heatsink and what appears to be a slightly different fan. Technically, since the core and memory speeds remain identical, performance of this board should be the same as our card. The only differences will be heat and noise level.
Besides the 128MB A98P weíre reviewing today, FIC will also be producing a 256MB variant of this card. Non-PRO cards will follow as well, although we canít give you an ETA on these cards as ATI hasnít shipped them to board manufacturers.
As usual, weíve included numbers at stock clock speeds as well as the A98P overclocked to 432/374MHz -- thatís higher than the core clock frequency we got from ATIís own RADEON 9800 PRO cards!