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Gigabyte's MAYA II R9700 Pro - Setting The Standard
Author : Martyn Date : 16th Nov 2002

3DVelocity wish to thank Gigabyte UK and especially Hiten for providing this card for our review.

...Product Gigabyte's MAYA II R9700 Pro
...Manufacturer Gigabyte
...Supplier Gigabyte
...Price £320 Approx.




Part One: Introduction

Gigabyte have been strangers of late around these parts but they have released a product that will surely grab the headlines! A once faithful nV partner, Gigabyte are now moving forward and building on the success of their R8500 part by releasing the Maya II, a Radeon 9700 Pro. With manufacturers such as Abit and Albatron doing well in the graphics sector this could be an essential product for a company that hasn't always been thought of as having the enthusiast in mind. Indeed, when we think of Gigabyte we think of stability over speed, features over overclocking and suchlike. However recent reviews have shown Gigabyte in a new light and this now just might be the R9700 to own!

Part Two: The Radeon 9700: King Of The Hill

As is usually the case with our nV card reviews, we will be analysing what Gigabyte can bring to this card rather than repeating another technology review. We will have a quick and dirty look at the specs' as quoted from our Connect3D review and then it's on with the more Gigabyte specific remainder of the review.

ATI revolutionizes the world of graphics technology with the RADEON™ 9700 Visual Processing Unit (VPU). Featuring fast 3D graphics performance, coupled with sophisticated real-time visual effects, unsurpassed image quality and cutting-edge video features, RADEON™ 9700 provides you with an amazing PC entertainment experience.

  • First to fully support DirectX® 9.0
    With its new SMARTSHADER™ 2.0 technology, RADEON™ 9700 supports DirectX® 9.0 and the latest OpenGL® functionality to give developers the freedom to create more complicated and realistic visual effects than ever before.
  • First 8-pixel pipeline architecture
    RADEON™ 9700 is the first graphics technology capable of processing 8 pixels simultaneously - twice as many compared to any existing product. This highly optimized design provides top 3D performance for both Direct3D® and OpenGL® games and applications.
  • 256-bit DDR memory interface
    The high-bandwidth memory interface of the RADEON™ 9700, utilizing the latest HYPER Z™ III bandwidth-conserving technology, removes a key performance bottleneck and provides end users with faster graphics performance.
  • Support for AGP 8X specification
    RADEON™ 9700 supports the new AGP 8X standard, which allows large volumes of texture and vertex data to be transferred faster from system memory to the chip (2.0 GB/sec).
  • First to use pixel shaders to accelerate video
    With ATI's new VIDEOSHADER™ technology, RADEON™ 9700 continues the tradition of providing industry-leading video and DVD playback. RADEON™ 9700 also offers FULLSTREAM™ - a new technology that removes blocky artifacts from video and provides sharper image quality.

System Requirements
  • Radeon 9700 PRO requires connection to your PC's internal power supply for operation. A 300 watt power supply or greater is recommended to ensure normal system operation where a number of other internal devices are installed.
  • Intel® Pentium® 4/III/II/Celeron™, AMD® K6/Duron™/Athlon®/Athlon XP® or compatible with AGP 2X (3.3v), 4X (1.5V), 8X (0.8v) or Universal AGP 3.0 bus configuration (2X/4X/8X).
  • 128MB of system memory
  • Installation software requires CD-ROM drive
  • DVD playback requires DVD drive
Graphics Technology
  • RADEON™ 9700 PRO Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
Memory Configuration
  • 128MB of double data rate SDRAM
Operating Systems Support
  • Windows® XP
  • Windows® 2000
  • Windows® Me
Display Support
  • VGA connector for analog CRT
  • S-video or composite connector for TV / VCR
  • DVI-I connector for digital CRT or flat panel
  • Independent resolutions and refresh rates for any two connected displays
  • Eight parallel rendering pipelines
  • Four parallel geometry engines
  • 256-bit DDR memory interface
  • AGP 8X support
    • Programmable pixel and vertex shaders
    • 16 textures per pass
    • Pixel shaders up to 160 instructions with 128-bit floating point precision
    • Vertex shaders up to 1024 instructions with flow control
    • Multiple render target support
    • Shadow volume rendering acceleration
    • High precision 10-bit per channel frame buffer support
    • Supports DirectX® 9.0 and the latest version of OpenGL
    • 2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes
      • Adaptive algorithm with programmable sample patterns
    • 2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes
      • Adaptive algorithm with bi-linear (performance) and tri-linear (quality) options
    • 3-level Hierarchical Z-Buffer with early Z test
    • Lossless Z-Buffer compression (up to 24:1)
    • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
  • TRUFORM™ 2.0
    • 2nd generation N-Patch higher order surface support
    • Discrete and continuous tessellation levels per polygon
    • Displacement mapping
    • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video
    • FULLSTREAM™ video de-blocking technology
    • Noise removal filtering for captured video
  • MPEG-2 decoding with motion compensation, iDCT and color space conversion
  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
  • YPrPb component output
  • Adaptive de-interlacing and frame rate conversion
  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI & HDCP compliant)
  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution
  • Optimized for Pentium® 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon™ 3Dnow!
  • PC 2002 compliant


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