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Product : Radeon 9800XT
Company : ABIT
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Editor : Robin 'roki' Kim
Date : February 5th, 2004

Specifications & Features

Though both the 9800XT and the mid-range 9600XT have hardware monitoring capabilities, they go about it in different ways. There was a recent discussion in our forums on how ATI had implemented the feature, which prompted ATI employees Terry "Catalyst Maker" Makedon and Eric "SirEric" Demers to make the following clarifications:

  1. The 9600XT's have an on-die thermal diode, and we are using that for thermal checks and as the reported temperature
  2. The 9800XTs do not have an on-die thermal diode. They have an on package thermistor and an on-board thermal sensor chip. The thermistor is very close to the ASIC die and the thermal transfer is very close to being constant, so a constant delta is fine.
  3. We've done HW qualification testing on 9800XT's in various configurations, and we've found that there's a very consistent delta differential between reported thermal data and measure ON DIE temperature.
  4. We can use the reported thermal data from both sources for OC calibration
  5. The offset of 20 degrees is an approximation of the temperature differential on 9800XT's, and is only used in the control panel temperature report. This temperature does not need to be exact, it just needs to be roughly accurate, which it is within a degree or two. This was experimentally gathered information
  6. Future changes might refine this process, as we deem fit. We are constantly developing this technology and from the 9600 onward, we plan to have (not guaranteeing we will though) on die thermal diodes in all of our products and in the future, other much more complex on die thermal logic.

Taking advantage of the new thermal sensing setup on the 9800XT is OverDrive. OverDrive monitors and dynamically adjusts the 9800XT core speed based on the temperature reported by the sensor. If the temperature is between 0°C and 56°C OverDrive increases the core speed to 419MHz. ATI had originally planned for a little more respectable 20MHz overclock (up to 432MHz) but due to yields at that speed only the first stage is currently enabled. For a first try it's not all that bad, but hopefully future products using OverDrive will feature more aggressive upper clock limit.

9800XT OverDrive Temperature Levels
412MHz 59°C or hotter
419MHz From 0°C to 59°C

I did a couple of quick passes using Call of Duty and 3DMark03 with and without OverDrive enabled to see what kind of advantage a 7MHz overclock gives us:

Call of Duty - OverDrive Test
Version 1.1 - 4xAA / 8xAF
0 38 75
Average Framerate
3DMark03 - OverDrive Test
Version 3.4.0 - 4xAA / 8xAF
0 3500 7000

I also recorded the temperatures OverDrive reported before and after each 3DMark03 run to give an idea how hot the 9800XT gets. I let the system idle for an hour before starting the 3DMark03 script, which itself runs for about an hour:

9800XT Temperatures
Idle 64°C
Load 72°C

Here are the specifications for the 9800XT:

Silicon Process .15µ
Transistor Count(millions) 110
Core Speed(MHz) 412419 w/ OverDrive
Memory Speed(MHz) 365
Memory Interface 256bit
Rendering Pipelines 8
TMUs Per Pipeline 1
Peak Memory Bandwidth(GB/s) 23.4
Pixel Fillrate(million pixels/sec) 3,296
Texel Fillrate(million texels/sec) 3,296
Pixel Shaders(DX version) 8 (2.0)
Vertex Shaders(DX version) 4 (2.0)
3D Graphics Features
  • Eight parallel rendering pipelines process up to 3.3 billion pixels per second
  • Four parallel geometry engines process up to 412 million transformed and lit polygons per second
  • High precision 32-bit per channel framebuffer support
    • Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
    • 2.0 Vertex Shaders support vertex programs up to 65,280 instructions with flow control
    • 2.0 Pixel Shaders support up to 16 textures per rendering pass
    • New F-buffer technology supports pixel shader programs with unlimited instructions
    • 128-bit, 64-bit & 32-bit per pixel floating point color formats
    • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
    • Shadow volume rendering acceleration
    • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® via extensions
    • State-of-the-art full-scene anti-aliasing
      • New technology processes up to 19.8 billion anti-aliased samples per second for unprecedented performance
      • Supports 2x, 4x, and 6x modes with programmable sample patterns
    • Advanced anisotropic filtering
      • Supports up to 16 bilinear samples (in performance mode) or trilinear samples (in quality mode) per pixel
      • Bandwidth-saving algorithm enables this feature with minimal performance cost
    • Hierarchical Z-Buffer and Early Z Test reduce overdraw by detecting and discarding hidden pixels
    • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression and Fast Z-Buffer Clear reduce memorybandwidth consumption by over 50%
    • Z Cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
  • TRUFORM™ 2.0
    • 2nd generation N-patch higher order surface support
    • Discrete and continuous tessellation levels per polygon for dynamic LOD
    • Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 displacement mapping
Video Features
    • Seamless integration of programmable pixel shaders with video data
    • High quality, hardware accelerated de-blocking of internet streaming video
    • Noise removal filter for captured video
  • Integrated MPEG-2 decode
    • Hardware accelerated iDCT, motion compensation, and color space conversion
    • Top quality DVD and all-format DTV/HDTV decode with low CPU overhead
  • Back-end scaler delivers top quality playback
    • Upscaling and downscaling with 4-tap horizontal and vertical filtering
    • Filtered display of images up to 1920 pixels wide
  • Unique per-pixel adaptive de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the "bob" and "add-field" (weave) techniques
Display Features
  • Dual integrated display controllers
    • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
    • HYDRAVISION™ software provides complete control over multi-display configurations with a user-friendly interface
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel palette DACs operating at up to 400MHz
  • Integrated 165MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI compliant and HDCP ready)
  • Integrated TV-Out support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • YPrPb output for direct drive of HDTV monitors
General Features
  • Comprehensive 4x and 8x AGP support
  • High performance quad-channel DDR memory interface supports 256MB configurations
  • Windows® Logo Program Compliant
  • Supports optional THEATER™ 200 companion chip for NTSC/PAL/SECAM video capture
  • Highly optimized 128-bit 2D engine with support for new Windows® XP GDI extensions

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