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ATi Radeon 9800 Pro

Discussion in 'Product Recommendations/Reviews' started by MacsRgr8, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. macrumors 604


    (originally posted in this thread)

    I posted the Xbench results on another thread.

    But, I shall give some more info here... see it as a review:
    I have a Dual 1.25 GHz (FW 800) G4 with 1 GB RAM, and had 3 different grfx cards in it. When I bought this G4, the Radeon 9700 was BTO, but I had to wait a couple of months for it... which I obviously didn't want to do. So I left the OEM Radeon 9000 in it, with the intention to buy the Retail version of the Radeon 9700. That one never came, so I hastedly bought the GeForce 4 Ti instead (didn't want it first, but by then this card was the best around). As the Radeon 9800 Pro Retail card came out only a day or two later, the reseller agreed to "swap" the GeForce 4 Ti with the 9800 when it finally arrived in Holland! So now you why I have had 3 different grfx cards. The review:
    In short: the 9800 is better than the GeForce 4, which is better than the 9000. Keep in mind that the Core Clock Speed of the grfx cards are VERY important, and have most influence on the framerates, while using exactly the same settings.
    But, results vary upon different games:
    Games I like to play are:
    RTCW, MOHAA/SpearHead, F1 CS 2000, Nascar 2003, Tiger Woods 2003....
    MOHAA/SpearHead somehow had irritating visual arifacts on the nVidia: sharp blue, or red lines on places where they shouldn't. Both Radeons are far better.
    F1 CS 2000, somehow really loves the extra horsepower and memory of both the 128 MB VRAM grfx cards.
    Nascar 2003: This one eats the processors.. wow! Most ovals aren't too much of a problem, but the Coca Cola oveal (much bigger, thus has to draw much more track every frame) is the nasty one. I like taking this oval for benchmarking: Right at the start, exiting turn 4, all 34 cars in view, driving slowly, 3D settings maximum possible, 1600 x 1200, extreme res...... Each card varied only a little here. Where the 9000 got 17 FPS, the GeForce about 20, the 9800 luckily gets 24.
    As I posted in the other thread I use ATi's control panel to override the settings for RTCW. This looks SO COOL, that for this feature alone I would have bought this card. It's superb. Forget the rest.....
    I don't have the hard FPS numbers for the games, but I think those utils are not the way to express overall (gaming) experince.

    Bottom line is that ATi's Radeon 9800 Pro Retail is the card to have, if you want serious fun on your Mac. I wonder how it will perform on sub- 1 Ghz G4's in an AGP 2x slot. Still the control panel will work.

    BTW, there is NO ADC port on it, and also needs an internal power supply. This making it quite different from the G5 BTO-one (also the G5 BTO one needs AGP 8x...), and the Retail has TV-out.
    I am happy I have it!
  2. macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    nice review, all thats missing is ease of installation and is it very loud,or very hot? thanks again and nascar 2002/2003 are great games.
  3. macrumors 604


    Installation is simple if you have an internal power supply cable ready. There is a Y-shaped power-connector (male / female) already fixed to the card, so there is no problem with the length of the needed power cable.
    In Jaguar, you'll have to update to 10.2.5, then install the dirvers off the CD. I strongly recommend updating to 10.2.6, AND getting the latest drivers for the card. You don't need to have 10.2.5 installed to be able to display anything on your screen, so you still can boot off a Jaguar CD. Only no acceleration is supported.
    In Panther (7B49) this card has native support, thus 2D and 3D acceleration works, but the "extra" control panel is ATi's own software. The 1.1.0 version of the software doesn't work perfectly. I assume ATi will have an update once Panther is ready for release.
    The Radeon has a fan for cooling, but in comparison to my MDD it's very quiet. I haven't seen/heard this 9800 in any other Mac yet, but usually the fan on a grfx card isn't that loud. It doesn't get hot either.
    What's more, this card can rotate your display! 90 degrees clockwise, counter clockwise or 180 degrees (upside down).
    Also DVD playback seems to be less of a burdon on you CPU, than using a nVidia card.
    Ofcourse QuickTime is accelerated, as QE.

    Here's a pic of the Y-shaped power connector mentioned above:

    Attached Files:

    • 9800.jpg
      File size:
      33.1 KB
  4. macrumors 68000


    I am looking into getting this card. I am just afraid that if I ever convince myself to get a G5, the card won't work as well as it should. is it true that the 9800 that comes as BTO in the G5 is different that the one you would buy in a store? If so, how much better would a BTO 9800 in a G5 be than a 9800 that was purchased in 3rd party store that was put into a G5?
  5. macrumors 604


    The Retail version of the Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition supports only AGP 2x and AGP 4x slots. The G5 has an AGP 8x slot, but I don't know if an AGP 4x grfx card is compatible, thus "slowing the bus down". But even if it is, that grfx card will not be able to use that double bandwidth of the AGP 8x slot.
    Also the Retail version does not have an ADC port. So, if you want to use an ADC monitor on this card, you wil have to get a DVI - ADC adaptor.
    In short:
    The G5 BTO Radeon 9800 is a grfx card specifically built for the G5;
    The Retail Radeon 9800 is the PC version flashed for use in a Macintosh.

    So, I don't think the Retail version would be compatible with the G5, as the BTO version is not compatible with an older Mac (though I cannot be absolutely sure at this moment...)
  6. macrumors 603


    You can have TV out with the BTO on the G5 as well. You can buy an adapter for about $20. Also works with the other G5 video cards.

    Just so you guys know.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    I believe you are right. When I talked to the ATI rep at macworld SF he said that the 9800 was 8x Agp only support. So if they have released a 2x 4x compatible it would be logical they flashed a rom onto a pc card
  8. macrumors 6502

    Any detials on this adapter? What exactly is it, and where can I get it?

  9. macrumors regular

    It's available at the Apple Store. It's called the DVI to video adapter or something like that...
  10. macrumors 6502a


    He's yanking your chain, have a look at the Ati web site. It is however not compatable with AGP1x.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    maybe, but todays graphics cards rarely even make use of the 4x AGP bus. there are plenty of bench marks around the PC world to varyify that, this is because todays graphics cards have so much onboad memory that they rarely need to access system memory.

    In short if 5 or 6 fps in gaming makes that much of a difference when the card is producing ~100fps, pay mac the extra money, to have it BTO, but is does seem strange that the OEM card isn't 8x since >90% of PC graphics cards are now AGP 8x.
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Re: ATi Radeon 9800 Pro

    Well der:confused: the R9800 is better even than the GF FX 5900ULTRA (NV 35.) And your clock speed comment it rubbish because the R9800 PRO operates @ 380MHz while the NV 35 operates @ 450MHz. Also Motherboard, NorthBridge, System RAM, CPU type and Speed, Hard drive, etc... also have a major impact on gaming frame rates.

    I think it is obvious that you spend little of your time gaming.
  13. macrumors 604


    Re: Re: ATi Radeon 9800 Pro

    I have never tried the NV 350, so I can't compare that one.
    What I have compared are the following (thought you would have read it):
    Radeons 8500, 9000, 9800;
    GeForce 4 Ti 4600.
    Comparing these cards I noticed that CoreClock speed was important.

    All of 'em in the same Dual 1.25 GHz G4, w/ 1 GB DDR RAM. So "rest of system" is not of any importance.

    I think it is obvious you have spent little time reading the whole review.

    Attached Files:

  14. macrumors 603


    Like madforrit said, it's available at the Apple Store.

    FYI, the Retail 9800 does work in the G5, it's just not as fast as the OEM BTO one. http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/ has all the info.
  15. macrumors newbie

    I have the radeon 9800 pro on my QS 867 1024MB RAM. I got a great deal from a friend. The improvement from the 9000 is noticeable, although not great. However, the added ability to control the features is great. I also plan on upgrading my CPU(1.4+Ghz) until I can afford a G5(mb g6?) (about 5 years from now). Once my CPU is above 1ghz then i predict I will actually make use of the video card. In terms of heat it generates a good amount, but is not noisier than my already loud QS windtunnel. I am thinking of getting the VGA silencer by arctic cooling. It has great reviews and you can get it for $10 on ebay. (both silences and cools the card)
  16. macrumors newbie

    Actually you have that backwards, the retail version beats the OEM version at higher resolutions in most of the tests, but no by much.


    The OEM version is 8x AGP but a slightly lower clock speed, and the retail is 4x with a slightly higher clock speed.

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