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Product : Radeon 7500
Company : Power Magic
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Date : May 20th, 2002

Introduction

ATI's traditional business structure was slightly altered early last year when they announced they themselves would continue to create full retail graphics products but they would also license out their chips to third party manufacturers. This move seems to have succeeded; in less than a year ATI has partnered with high profile manufacturers such as Hercules, FIC, and Gigabyte to produce ATI based graphics cards. As a result the ATI user base has grown by a substantial amount. For a complete list of ATI partners, check out this link on ATIs website which also contains more information about ATI's new business structure. For my first real hardware review, I will focus on a Radeon 7500 based product from one of the earliest ATI partners, PowerMagic Multimedia Ltd.

The PowerMagic Radeon 7500 is based on ATI's reference Radeon 7500 board design, with the only distinctions being a very cool looking bright red PCB and an unfortunately lower core clock speed than standard ATI Radeon 7500 cards. The core speed of the PowerMagic 7500 is clocked at 250MHz compared to ATI manufactured 7500's which have their cores clocked at a much higher 290MHz. The memory speed however is set to the ATI standard of 230MHz (460MHz DDR) using ESMT DDR Ram rated at 4ns, which should allow the memory to overclock to at least 250MHz (1000/4=250MHz=500MHz DDR). More on overclocking later.

The RV200 core, which all Radeon 7500 graphics cards are based on, is essentially a die-shrunk R100 core. The RV200 core is based on a .15µ manufacturing process, while R100's were based on .18µ manufacturing process, which is the primary reason why Radeon 7500 based cards are able to clock so much higher than their predecessors. At the time of it's initial release, the R100 based Radeon was probably the most advanced graphics card on the market. It featured Full Scene Anti-Aliasing, a Hidden Surface Removal system called HYPER-Z by ATI, a full blown hardware TCL engine called the CHARISMA engine, industry leading multimedia features including some real hardware assisted DVD decoding features wrapped up into a bundle called VIDEO-IMMERSION, and even a pixel-shader engine that turned out to be too far ahead of it's time called the PIXEL-TAPESTRY engine. The RV200 has all those features with the addition of dual-display support dubbed HYDRAVISION by ATI which only previously appeared on the stripped down Radeon VE graphics cards. And, as mentioned, the RV200 core is clocked much higher than the R100 core.




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