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ATi Radeon 9500 Pro: As much as everyone would like a top-of-the-line card, the reality is most people will probably have to settle for something cheaper. Cheaper doesn't have to mean suck-ass though.
Date: May 5, 2003
Catagory: Video Cards
Written By: Quasar

Overclocking and 9700 Pro Mod

There have been some discussions about overclocking the 9500 Pro, as it seems that ATi put a lock overclocking. I followed the , and unfortunately, I was not able to overclock the 9500 Pro, at least not unless I did a BIOS flash. Considering my budget, and the fact that I purchased this card on my own dime, flashing the BIOS with a hack on a video card isn't something I had much desire in doing.

Why the problems? My guess is ATi wanted to avoid having to deal with dead cards, but more likely, since it's the same GPU as the 9700 Pro, the last thing they'd want are people overclocking their 9500 Pros to 9700 Pro speeds. If this were the case, nobody would be buying the much more expensive 9700 Pro.

For the 9700 Pro mod, there are a few factors that will have to be observed. For one thing, you need to have a non-Pro version of the card, on the older PCB. My PCB has the ram lined up (four on the front and four on the back), so even if I had a non-Pro, I would only end up with a 9500 Pro after the mod. Since I have a 9500 Pro anyways, this mod didn't work for me.

Test Setup

MSI KT4 Ultra KT400: Athlon XP 2400+ (15x133: 2.0GHz), 2 x 256MB Kingston HyperX PC3500 Ram, ATi 9500 Pro, 120GB Western Digital SE 8MB Cache, Windows XP SP1, Direct X 9.0, VIA Hyperion 4in1 v4.45, ATi Catalyst 3.2

Test Software

3D Mark 2001 SE
Unreal Tournament 2003
Serious Sam 2: Second Encounter

The comparison card will be a MSI Ti4200-T8x, which has also been reviewed here at VL. This is an AGP8x board, and the 9500 Pro's direct competition. The Detonator version was 43.45. A clean install of the OS was done for each card to maintain a clean test environment.

3D Mark 2001 SE

The first test is just to establish a baseline between the Ti4200 and the 9500 Pro. We used the last 3D Mark 2001 build, and ran at 1024x768, 1280x1024, and 1600x1200 with the default settings, and no AA.

The Radeon 9500 Pro gets the better of the Ti4200 at all resolutions. At each resolution, we have close to, or over 1000 3D Marks discrepancy. This is an old benchmark though, and a synthetic one as well, so let's take a look at some real world benchmarks.

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