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Product : Radeon 9700 Atlantis
Company : Sapphire
Author : James Crivellone
Date : January 8th, 2003

Introduction

Ever since the introduction of ATI's R300 VPU, the gaming industry has started to take a new look at PC Gaming.  No longer are we only obsessed with frame rates, instead we are now also caring about image quality.  The primary technologies contributing to this phenomenon are FSAA (Full Scene Anti-Aliasing), and AF (Anisotropic Filtering).  Past cards could do both of these technologies, however when enabled a large performance hit would normally be felt.  Many gamers including myself decided to leave them off as it was better to have a smooth game play than the improved image quality. 

When ATI finally brought R300 to market, a new light was brought on. No longer did we experience quite as large of a performance hit, in fact many of us can run with 4X FSAA, and 16X Anisotropic and still get very good frame rates.  Many gamers jumped on the this card when it first came out, however many did not.  Sadly not all of us, including myself have an unlimited budget, so shelling out 350 - 400 dollars on a video card is just not going to happen. ATI, along with 3rd party manufacturers like Sapphire had an answer to this by creating 3 other cards based on the R300 Chipset.  The Radeon 9700, Radeon 9500 Pro, and Radeon 9500.  Today we look at Sapphire's Radeon 9700 offering.

The Bundle

Included in the Sapphire 9700 Retail box is a full copy of Soldier of Fortune II, as well as Redline, which is Sapphire's Overclocking/Tweaking Utility.  Its nice to see a company that includes utilities to tweak the card  =).

Technology

The differences between the 9700 and 9700 Pro are very small, the VPU/Graphics Processor is identical to the 9700 Pro, in fact the board/pcb design is identical as well, however 2 things were changed.  The video memory was reduced to a 3.6NS Part, and the VPU speed was reduced as well.  The result of this is a VPU speed of 275 MHz, and a video memory speed of 270 MHz.  The 9700 Pro runs at 325VPU, and 310Memory.  Other differences are simply cosmetic, the pcb is not red this time, instead Sapphire decided to go with a rather sporty and cool looking black PCB, an improvement over the stock red color in my opinion.  The other change is the HSF (Heat Sink/Fan).  It not only performs a tad better, but looks better as well.  Nothing wrong with that.

In terms of the die hard features of the card, I am going to reference this rage3d review of the 9700 Pro, as it seems rather silly to repeat it all here.  Click here for more details.





Sapphire 9700 Atlantis Component Side
Sapphire 9700 Atlantis Component Side
Sapphire 9700 Atlantis Solder Side
Sapphire 9700 Atlantis Solder Side
Sapphire 9700 Atlantis Heatsink Unit
Sapphire 9700 Atlantis Heatsink Unit

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