Video Card: ATI All In Wonder RADEON 9800 Pro Revi :: Conclusion

08-14-2003 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Benjamin Sun

In terms of features, the AIW 9800 Pro is an excellent video card. Featuring support for Pixel Shader 2.0 and Vertex Shader 2.0, the 9800 Pro will be an excellent board to play current and future games. The fact that Valve used the 256MB version of the 9800 Pro to showcase Half Life 2 (which is due in September), and iD Software showcased DOOM III last year at E3, shows that this card should play those games extremely well.

In terms of performance, the AIW 9800 Pro is the fastest video card available in a lot of areas. In most games, 1280x1024 6x Anti Aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering is fully playable. That's simply incredible! In most stressful cases (with AA and AF enabled) the 9800 Pro is 10-20% faster than the 9700 Pro that it replaces.

The major addition to ATI"s AIW products are the TV features. TV playback with the AIW RADEON 9800 Pro is the same as with the AIW 9700 Pro. With the new EazyLOOK interface of MultiMedia Center 8.5, control of the TV and other features is seamless. mulTView adds another feature when used in conjunction with a TV Wonder or TV Wonder VE product from ATI.

So what do I think? If you already have a AIW 9700 Pro in your machine, it would behoove you to keep it. The AIW 9800 Pro in my opinion doesn't bring enough to the table to warrant the $449 price tag if you already have the AIW 9700 Pro. As the AIW 9700 Pro is currently retailing for $349, it's still an excellent value that gives you the features (full DX9.0 compliance), speed, and bundle that you need for the foreseeable future. Maybe, once Doom 3 and Half Life 2 come out, the upgrade to the 9800 will be worth it, at this point, however, the AIW 9700 is still an excellent card.

If you have a slower than Ti4200 class video card, the choice is a lot clearer. If you're looking for a video card and a TV tuner, the AIW 9800 Pro is the fastest available card with a TV tuner built in. Featuring the full-speed 9800 Pro, the AIW 9800 Pro is a no-nonsense high-performing card that will play all of today's DX8 games and the DX9 games that will start arriving soon at an acceptable speed.

Overall, the AIW 9800 Pro is an excellent card. It provides all of the features, and performance that you would expect from a video card. As to whether it's worth $449 retail? I always have a hard time with cards that retail for more than $300. In all the time I've reviewed graphics cards and other computer components, it's always been troubling to me to see a card that costs more than any other component in my computer. Having said all of that, there's little doubt that the AIW 9800 Pro is the most feature-rich, fastest video card available.