Sapphire (ATI OEM) 9700 Pro Impressions (On a 1.2ghz Tbird :)

foxes

Junior Member
Sep 6, 2002
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0
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FIC AD11 w/ Athlon Tbird 1.2ghz @ 288 FSB, 512mb PC2100, WIN 98 SE, Catalyst Drivers 2.3

Ordered from newegg, this OEM card comes in a white box with no manuals. It does come with a DVI-> VGA and a SVIDEO->RCA adapter, an SVIDEO and RCA cable, a Sapphire ATI driver CD (no demos), and the card itself (with an ATI-branded HSF, and power connection dongle). Unfortunately, the OEM box is not padded inside (the cables and such are in bags, which lay against the unpadded card static bag), so I'm glad the card isn't damaged.

First, I uninstalled the Nvidia drivers, and let Windows install a default display driver.

Physical installation was easy, the card being a slightly wider but shorter profile and shorter than the Hercules Geforce2 GTS 64mb AGP it's replacing.

I first had to install the driver package from the CD, because the latest Catalyst drivers from ATIs website don't include the full-blown ATI Control panel and Hydravision software. I'm sure you can download them somewhere from ATI. Then I updated to the latest Catalyst.

2D quality is impressive! A slight blur in the corner of my screen at 1280x1024, that I previously thought was my monitor, actually turned out to be caused by my Geforce2. The ATI card is flawless, with crisp text at all resolutions, no moire, blurr or anything else. TV out and VGA out can function at the same time, in either mirror OR dual monitor mode. TV out at 60hz Svideo to a Firewire hardware DV encoder was the best I'd seen from a video card (nearly console quality).

3D was a little more difficult at first. I ran 3D Mark 2001 SE (both builds 330 and 300), but upon going to Nature, it crashed to desktop. The High Polygon Count test did the same. But, all other tests could run fine, and and looked great! Because of the game problems, I can't get a score, but most tests ran over 130fps in 1024x768.

I was able to run EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, UT, and CodeCreatures Benchmark Pro all flawlessly, in 1280x1024 with 4x AA. Some areas in games still stuttered a bit, due to my low processor speed.

CC bench maintained nearly exactly 30fps in all tests, even with AA, proving that I was CPU limited, and not due to the 9700.

However, even with the fastest CPU, I don't think there any games on the market that would fully tax this 9700. The CPU will probably remain the bottleneck for a while.

The 3D Mark crashes might be due to a combination of Win98 + 3D Mark + ATI Drivers. I couldn't get either test to run even after lowering my FSB to 266, reinstalling 3D Mark, ATIs drivers, and adding more cooling. Hopefully when I upgrade my processor this fall, move to XP, and ATI further tweaks their drivers, such anomalies will go away.

Lastly, this card produces some HEAT! The smallish fan seems to be adequate, but I expect I would experience lockups after running the card for a while, even in a Lian Li with 4 case fans. So, I positioned a blower near the back of the card, to blow air across the ATI heatsink and out through a PCI slot. There isn't enough room to install a card in PCI 1, at least on this FIC AD11. Even if you could, you shouldn't! Unless you want to melt your card. ;)

Having leap-frogged the Geforce3 and Geforce4 generations, I can only be astounded by the upgrade to a 9700, and am no longer an Nvidia loyalist.

foxes
 

Moishe

Member
Feb 27, 2002
108
2
81
Thanks for the info. I was wondering how this card would run on a slow CPU... looks like I have to upgrade before I get one.
Mo
 

coloumb

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,096
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Hey..I didn't get a white box with my Sapphire card. Maybe that's why mine won't work 9 times out of 10 tries [1 long beep & 2 short beeps at POST].

 

GtPrOjEcTX

Lifer
Jul 3, 2001
10,784
6
81
Originally posted by: coloumb
Hey..I didn't get a white box with my Sapphire card. Maybe that's why mine won't work 9 times out of 10 tries [1 long beep & 2 short beeps at POST].
white box means oem, which generally means worse. I'd suggest tryin to resit your card to make sure its secured into the slot.

 

kylebisme

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2000
9,396
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its not the card, or it being loose in the slot, at least i doubt it as my retail ati does the same thing. it may be the motherboard or the chipset on it though, my issue is with an abit kr7-raid, thats a kt266a chipset. also it should be noted that it boots fine in my kt7-raid. ohh ya, and its a realy sweet card despite the fact that i am now affaid to turn off my computer and other bugs.
 

Mem

Lifer
Apr 23, 2000
21,476
13
81
Hey..I didn't get a white box with my Sapphire card. Maybe that's why mine won't work 9 times out of 10 tries [1 long beep & 2 short beeps at POST].
The quality and power of PSU is important with the 9700,also check you`ve it fully seated in the AGP slot.
 

kylebisme

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2000
9,396
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i supose i should point out that i run a 400w enermax and pulled all extra cards and power on all 4 drives and got the same results. also ati tech suport is stumped and told me they will expodite the issue but be sure to return the card before my grace period expires if the issue is not resolved.
 

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