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PowerMagic ATI Radeon 8500 in the test: Swan song for the GeForce3?

PowerMagic ATI Radeon 8500 in the test: Swan song for the GeForce3?

Overclocking and stability

As already mentioned at the beginning of the review, the PowerMagic Radeon 8500 could be overclocked to 275Mhz/275Mhz without any problems. Ultimately, the end was at around 285Mhz/278Mhz, but the differences to 275Mhz/275Mhz were hardly measurable. During the entire test, with the exception of GL Excess, no benchmarks crashed with the new drivers and the card did its job flawlessly, really flawlessly, because due to the large number of benchmarks and the resulting runs, the card ran non-stop at full speed for weeks without any dropouts, even during gaming, the card did not crash a single time under Windows 98SE. Except, of course, through your own experimentsextreme overclocking of the CPU & mainboards to break the 8000 sound barrier in 3DMark2001;). Overclocking was only done with Powerstrip 3.10, because the Rage3D Tweaker did not support overclocking of the Radeon 8500 at the time of the test. The OC limit of the graphics card is most likely set in the OEM bios, because although exactly the same components are used as in the ATI version, most cards can hardly go beyond 260Mhz with a memory clock. The reason for this is in all probability that the memory timing in the BIOS of the OEM boards is too aggressive, as well as a possible lowering of the voltage. There was a retail bios hack for the OEM cards circulating on the Internet, but we strongly advise against it, because you can send your newly acquired Radeon 8500 to the graphics card cemetery very quickly, as not every card guarantees that it will also run at 275Mhz/275Mhz is running - but who knows, maybe PowerMagic already has a BIOS update ready for us?

Conclusion

The Inno3D Tornado GeForce3 and the PowerMagic Radeon 8500 sometimes fought head to head. However, the PowerMagic Radeon 8500 emerges as the clear winner, because benchmarks that are only specialized on certain cards have little informative value about the general performance of the card, and the PowerMagic Radeon 8500 (LE) still has some potential, especially since nVidia six months ahead of ATI in driver development. Only the big performance losses when using Smoothvision are to be criticized, as well as the somewhat deficient drivers from ATI for Windows XP, which are still in beta. Over and above this, the additional features such as dual head support and the brilliant TV picture are comforting; nVidia will probably not come close to ATI here. Is it worth buying an original ATI card with 275/275Mhz? Definitely not,the performance differences are too marginal, especially since the PowerMagic Radeon 8500 (LE) with 531 DM is a real bargain and an original ATI card with 275 Mhz is priced around 100-150 DM, if available at all. The money saved should be invested in a better CPU or mainboard, it is better invested there.

PowerMagic Radeon 8500
  • Dual display support
  • Brilliant TV-Out quality
  • Performance
  • Overclockability
  • DX 8.1 Hardware
  • Still relatively unsatisfactory drivers for Windows XP

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