Radeon 9700 - The Numbers Behind the Beast

Radeon 9700 -  The Numbers Behind the Beast Radeon 9700 -  The Numbers Behind the Beast

A few days ago ATI officially introduced the Radeon 9700 as the fastest 3D chip. According to a variety of tests that have already been run on ATI's new baby, it truly does hand the crown to them beating all of nVidia's current chips. This of course can all change when nVidia introduce the NV30.
Not much detail has been leaked regarding the specifics of the board. In a presentation in London ATI decided it was about time some info was given to the eager public.

The 9700 is built using 0.15 micron technology and carries an astonishing 107 million transistors.

The 9700 is built using a 10-layer PCB (Printed Circuit Board) which makes it very expensive to produce. ATI have received a lot of grief from many of their partners because of this choice but have stuck with that design in order to provide stability to a card which will be pushing its limits. What is more important to the success, financial and otherwise, of the card is the prospect of making it available in September. If this is achieved ATI will have gone a long way into becoming a serious threat to nVidia's domination of the graphics market.

ATI's presentation avoided giving a specific clock speed but suggested that 300+ MHz shouild be used. The most likely figure seems to be that of 315 MHz, which is the optimal limit for maintaining a stable R300 chip and Radeon 9700 card.

ATI will ask for USD 399 per card but will inevitably introduce cheaper boards based on the Radeon 9500 that will be an R300 with a lower clock-speed. The price of that range is estimated to be around USD 199 to 299. These cards should become available by November, 2002.

The external power connector on the card suggests that AGP cannot supply the necessary power for running this chip. During the presentation ATI claimed that the card will function without external power, provided the motherboard and power supply are state-of-the-art.

If availability problems are avoided it is very likely that ATI may have a GeForce killer on its hands.


RADEON 9700 is the world's fastest and most advanced graphics board, featuring ATI's RADEON 9700 Visual Processing Unit (VPU). Through a combination of incredible 3D rendering performance, sophisticated real-time visual effects, unsurpassed image quality and cutting-edge video features, it takes the PC entertainment experience to a totally new level.


-Fastest 3D gaming performance with next-generation VPU architecture
-Complete DirectX 9.0 support for unprecedented realism and sophisticated visual effects
-SMOOTHVISION 2.0 technology provides new levels of image quality with advanced full-scene anti-aliasing (FSAA) and anisotropic filtering
-Revolutionary new video features including VIDEOSHADER and FULLSTREAM technologies
-Featuring CATALYST - ATI's industry-leading software suite with frequently scheduled free updates providing additional features and performance over the product's lifetime


Fastest 3D Gaming Performance

-128MB DDR memory accelerates the latest 3D games
-256-bit memory interface removes hardware performance bottleneck and provides end users with faster 3D graphics
-Industry's first 8-pixel pipeline architecture, providing twice the rendering power of any currently competing product.
-Supports the new AGP 8X standard, providing a high-speed link between the graphics board and the rest of the PC (2.0 GB/sec)

Highest Level of Realism

-First to fully support DirectX® 9.0 and the latest OpenGL® functionality
-New SMARTSHADER 2.0 technology allows users to experience complex, movie-quality effects in next-generation 3D games and applications
-SMOOTHVISION 2.0 technology enhances image quality by removing jagged edges and bringing out fine texture detail, without compromising performance
-128-bit floating-point color precision allows for a greater range of colors and brightness

Revolutionary New Video Features

-Unique VIDEOSHADER engine uses programmable pixel shaders to accelerate video processing and provide better-looking visuals
-ATI's new FULLSTREAM technology removes blocky artifacts from Streaming and Internet video and provides sharper image quality.