Examination of the Specifications
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.
|Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD||Radeon 9700 Pro||Radeon 9800 Pro|
|Memory Interface (bits)||256||256||256|
|Core Clock (MHz)||412||325||380|
Memory Clock (MHz)
|Core Manufacturing Process||0.15||0.15||0.15|
|Approx. Street Price (USD)||$500||
There is a nice speed improvement over the Radeon 9700 Pro with almost a 100MHz difference on the core clock and 55MHz difference on the memory clock (110MHz DDR). Comparing the differences to the Radeon 9800 Pro, the speed differences are minimal and certainly not as much as some of you would have liked. I was surprised to find out that the Radeon 9800XT uses DDR-I memory and not DDR-II like the Radeon 9800 Pro. Also, the core is still manufactured using 0.15u process instead of the smaller and cooler 0.13u. I hope we can expect a DDR-II and/or 0.13u version of the 9800XT in the future.
Though we don’t have a Radeon 9800 Pro here in our labs to compare, I suspect there isn’t enough of a performance difference to the Radeon 9800XT to merit an upgrade, but if you have a Radeon 9700 Pro, I think this card is worth looking at.
Composite or S-Video
Composite or S-Video
|Multiple Display Support||
Yes, GPU and RAM
Looking at the extras listed above, we can see that this card has all the bells and whistles. It has VIVO to allow you to game on the 52″ plasma display in your livingroom wall (we can all dream), edit videos, and record your favourite TV show. Unexpectedly, the card has temperature, voltage, and fan monitoring which I found surprising since the packaging and the Asus website and packaging doesn’t directly mention them. This is a really nice feature for enthusiasts and I think it should be featured more prominantly in the literature.
Packaging + Contents
The Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD comes in a very large box with nice foil embossing on the lid. Comparing the box to other videocard packages I have here in the lab, this box oozes superiority. Even the female character on the package looks like she’s ready to tear your heart out and feed it to the 3-headed dog that’s waiting at her side. Okay, I’m getting carried away, but the package is very well constructed and reflects well on the quality of product contained within.
Inside the box you will find the card itself enclosed in a plastic holder that was designed specifically to hold the hardware. This ensures that the product doesn’t slide around during transportation and get damaged. There are 3 manuals hiding below the card, a DVI adapter, a orange CD holder with software inside, VIVO dongle, and the Half-Life 2 coupon.
|Composite video cable||No|
Of all the contents above, probably the biggest feature is the Half-Life 2 promotion coupon. This coupon allows the user to redeem their serial number for either a downloadable copy of Half-Life 2 (via STEAM) or order a copy from ATI for $10 USD (shipping + handling). As we all know, Half-Life 2 is going to be one of the biggest game releases this coming year (next to Doom 3) and having it “included” in this bundle will entice many consumers.
There is something misleading however – the software on the “Games Power CD” are all demos! Neither the box, online or printed documentation mention this. The only way you find this out is by reading the small print on the CD label or by installing the game. I find this disappointing as an unattentive consumer may buy this card thinking they’re getting a great deal with games like Splinter Cell and Warcraft 3 included, when they’re only demos.
Another nice bonus in the box was the hard CD case. It holds 12 CDs (8 already used by Asus’ bundled software) and it’s orange to match the color of the video card. Personally, I don’t like those cheap paper sleeves or those thin CD cases that snap into pieces, so this CD holder is a nice touch and keeps the box (and your desktop) nice and clean.
The Asus/ATI VIVO dongle is a welcome improvement over NVIDIA’s standard VIVO dongle. It measures 53″ in length which means you don’t have to play gymnastics to unplug video cables from the back of your computer. You can place the dongle pretty much anywhere near your computer and use the included velcro sticker to keep it in place. Just for comparison, the NVIDIA dongle is a stingy 4.75″, hardly enough to clear a tangle of wires in the back.
There are some things missing from the box that I expected, namely a S-Video and Composite video cables. All other hardware vendors seem to include these items (even white-box/OEM cards include S-Video cables), but for some reason Asus didn’t. Honestly, I think it would have been better to get rid some of the bundled software and put these cables in the box instead. This is surprising since Asus has a reputation of having the most features and extras, but at least a DVI-adapter is included. 🙂
The manuals only covers two areas: the installation of Asus software, and usage of Asus software. There is no other documentation on physical installation, troubleshooting potential hardware problems, or documentation on the other software in the package (like PowerDirector ME). All the manuals are very thin and my box only came with English editions, I assume other languages will be available on retail shelves.Editor’s Note: This is simply an idea and AMDMB takes no responsibility if you break your new card!!!!