If you've been following the graphics card market recently you can't fail to notice the impact ATI has had on it. With a spate of product releases, lots of product and technology hype and a seemingly static NVIDIA, ATI have had it somewhat easy recently and have found favour with a lot of customers with regards to their technology and consumers of the end results.
Graphics card makers traditionally fight their war on two or three levels. The high end space where their flagship products compete and then everything else below that from the mid-range popular accelerators right down to the budget space where penny penching is epidemic in the fight for your hard earned.
While the mid-range and budget sectors command more revenue for all GPU makers at the moment due to volume of sales, everyone likes to show off and todays high end cards are tomorrows mid-range entrants. So taking a peek at the high end, no matter how expensive the cards may be, is always worthwhile since the technology and speed will always filter down into a more affordable sector.
Of course you have the affluent who think nothing of dropping serious cash on the latest and greatest so a look at the high end appeals to everyone in some form or another. Also with seemingly high end cards finding their way into the affordable OEM systems, getting your hands on something exciting in the world of pixel pushing has arguably never been easier. With the fastest GPU on the market today, the Radeon 9700 Pro and the focus of this review, available in sub £250 form and with my memory still scarred with a £475 purchase of a GeForce2 Ultra I have to agree.
So while it's common knowledge by now that the Radeon 9700 Pro is the current performance leader, how does it go about getting there? Let's take a look at the tech.