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Product : Radeon 9600 Atlantis & 9600 Atlantis Pro Fireblade Edition Review
Company : Sapphire
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Date : June 16th, 2003


When I first heard the specs on the 9600 Pro, I admit that I wasn't very impressed. A 4x1 card that was supposed to replace an 8x1 card? It didn't make sense (and the eventual benchmarks proved it). However, since the 9500 Pro is based on the R300 core (a ~110 million transistor, .15µ beast) it's expensive to make, and that cost is passed on to us. Because the 9600 Pro has less transistors and is built on a .13µ manufacturing process, ATI has created a cheaper alternative to the 9500 Pro and that savings is passed on to us.

Given the huge overclocking potential of both the 9600 Pro and 9600, these cards may actually be better buys than they might have previously seemed. Sapphire has certainly increased the appeal, at least with the Fireblade Special Edition and their guarantee on the memory overclock, but why did they stop there? With the core hitting 500Mhz stock here and in all other reviews I have seen (I've seen some reviews far exceed 500MHz even), it wouldn't have been a stretch to also guarantee, say, 425MHz on the core as well. It might be that, as some are speculating, ATI has further plans for the 9600 core and doesn't want any of their partners releasing anything that might trump any future products. Time will tell on that.

Irregardless, the 9600 Atlantis and the 9600 Atlantis Pro offer great buys for anyone on a budget and looking for real DirectX9 class graphics hardware.


Radeon 9600 Atlantis Pro Fireblade SE Score
4.5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5

Radeon 9600 Atlantis Score
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

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