Product: 3D Prophet Radeon 9800 Pro
Manufacturer: HerculesMSRP: 549 EUR
Availability: End of April 2003
When I first looked at the product we will be reviewing today my reaction was precisely 'Oh My God' I have never seen a graphics card looking so beautiful. Once again it's Hercules who did an amazing thing with it's new Radeon 9800 Pro. Lovely blue PCB, copper ramsinks, GPU front and backside cooled with copper plated cooling and even some capacitors have little copper ramsinks. That's not it though, this card was made for the high-end user. The high-end user nowadays most likely has a casemod. Probably a case door window on the left side ... end well .. this is the pure beauty I guess .. the copper cooling fan that's cooling down the graphics core has a blue LED light which lights up the ambient surroundings of the graphics card.
As you have guessed by now we are reviewing Hercules latest and greatest, the 3D Prophet 9800 Pro. It amazes me how ATI managed to advance itself way up there in that extremely competitive market. Two maybe three years ago they had a reputation of building so-so graphics cards with mostly buggy drivers and now look again, a lot has changed since then. They certainly had an answer to that. The product, as stated my friends, is the all new Radeon 9800 Pro. A highly efficient and programmable graphics card with a computational speed that is simply breathtaking.
Instead of moving towards a 0,13 Micron fabrication process, like the new 9600 and 9200 are, ATI decided it would be saver to go with the older 0.15 Micron process. I've been told by several technicians that this process can not go any further than roughly 400 MHz. ATi was clever though, they clocked R350 core at 380 MHz which leaves a little 'breathing space' on the graphics core yet is very stable and .. faster. This product will be roughly 20% faster than it's older brother the 9700 Pro.
Pure beauty ... but is it any good ? Let's find that out. We took the Radeon 9700 Pro, 9800 Pro and GeForce FX 5800 Ultra towards our new Athlon XP 3000+ based test rig and took them through some extensive testing.
In the retail box we'll find the following:
- One Hercules Radeon 9800 Pro (duh)
- DVI to CRT changer/dongle
- SVideo to composite plug
- Composite cable
- Svideo cable
- Driver CD
- Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
Overall a very decent package with in fact a new and kick'ass game.