Date Posted: June 24, 2002
The Radeon 8500 128 Meg DDR we received was clocked at 275 MHZ GPU and 275 MHZ RAM. For comparison purposes, the GeForce 3 ti500 is clocked at 240 MHZ GPU and 250 MHZ RAM. There is something interesting about all of this, though. Look at any GeForce 3 ti500 card and then look at the Radeon 8500. The cooling on the Radeon is quite puny when compared to the large heatsinks and RAMsinks manufacturers usually place on the ti500, but that isn't a bad thing. While the Radeon 8500 doesn't pack an impressive cooling solution, it overclocks quite well. I was able to push both the GPU and RAM to 302 MHz and do a 24 hr. looping 3D Mark 2001 test. This shows me that ATI's chip runs quite efficiently at higher clock speeds without extra cooling. I have noticed that manufacturers such as Gigabyte are using RAMsinks with their Radeon cards, but my testing assures me that extreme cooling methods are not needed with the Radeon.
ATI has obviously heard the term "Appearance is everything." The box the Radeon 8500 comes in is actually quite attractive. On the center of the box is a skull covered with the name of the product. On the upper-left hand corner of the box ATI was sure to print "128 MB" to indicate how much RAM is on the card. Until recently, the Radeon 8500 came with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM. In order to keep up with a technically superior line of NVidia GeForce 4 cards ATi has added an extra 64 MB to the mix. On the upper-right hand corner the words "Built by ATI" were printed.
This box is called "The Intimidator" around here
Inside the box we find several cables, disks and manuals. There is a composite and S-Video cable, along with a DVI to VGA connector. Also included are a Driver Setup CD and a game CD. ATI includes the Half Life package that includes Team Fortress, Uplink and Counter-Strike, all of which are great Half Life mods. Half Life: Counterstrike was included because, quite simply, it is the most popular online game in the world. It can also take advantage of TRUFORM by using the following commands into the console:
ati_npatch 0 (turns TRUFORM OFF)
ati_npatch 1 (turns TRUFORM ON)
Same PCB, different technology
Not much has changed as far as looks go with the Radeon. To card is still based on the same PCB design as the original Radeon. There is a very small heatsink and fan combo affixed the to GPU using thermal epoxy. Still powering DVD playback is the very capable Rage Theater chip. I wouldn't be surprised if ATI continues using this chip in future products, as it is still quite effective.
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