This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.ATI’s Radeon 9000 core is strikingly similar to the R200 core (better known as the Radeon 8500), with a few minor additions and some features cut out. The Radeon 9000, at a first glance, is what the NV17 (better known as GeForce4 MX) should have been- a full fledged DX8.1 card for under $100 that will be able to handle most games out there today without a hiccup.
It’s got a new feature not found on the 8500 called FULLSTREAM, which is a hardware-accelerated filtering method that improves the performance and visual quality of streaming video playback. Streaming video looks less blocky, and a lot more smooth, and this is purely hardware-accelerated. Currently only available for RealPlayer however, but I’m sure Microsoft will catch on soon enough.
As for 3-D performance, it’s missing a texture unit from each of its 4 rendering pipelines. This was done to cut costs, and die size, so that the Radeon 9000 can become a value chip. Contrary to the name, it’s not quite as fast as the 8500, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great card.
The Card Itself
Enough of the technical specs, most likely you will find what you get when you dish out your cash, to be a little more interesting.
Nice cover art…
Included in the box is a DVI to VGA converter (thus making dual CRT support possible), an S-Video to Composite converter (for TVs that do not have S-Video in, such as the one I own ;-)), the user manual and driver CD which as you see I didn’t even bother to open.
Here are the ports on the back…note the TV-out, DVI output (with the included DVI to VGA converter, you can have a dual CRT setup) and of course the VGA output; it’s really a complete package for the money.
And of course…the card itself. With all the rumours flying about that this would be a passively cooled card, I was pleasantly surprised to see a heatsink/fan assembly. As I usually preach in the video card forums at AMDMB, RAMsinks on a video card is a necessity (even with BGA RAM) and I was disappointed to see that it was not included, but for $85 what can you ask for?
ATI really included a nice package here, the card has more than enough features for the average user (I was especially pleased to see Dual CRT support on an $85 card). Talk about getting a good value for your money 😉