ATI's Radeon 9000 Pro graphics card

DirectX 8.1 for everyone

ATI's RADEON 9000 suffers from a case of horrible timing. On the same day that ATI announced the revolutionary, cutting edge, drool-inducing Radeon 9700, they also told the world about the Radeon 9000, a retooled version of their Radeon 8500 chip aimed at mainstream desktops. Here you had the Radeon 9000's slightly revised current-generation GPU competing for attention with the Radeon 9700's brand-new, next-generation, DirectX 9-compliant architecture. It wasn't even fair.

What makes the Radeon 9000 important isn't a list of never-before-seen features or astronomical performance, but the DirectX 8.1 feature set that it brings to the mainstream desktop. Mass-market adoption of new versions of DirectX is what's needed before it's cost effective for developers to spend a lot of time taking advantage of advanced features like pixel shaders, and that makes the Radeon 9000 a very important graphics card for the industry as a whole.

Does the Radeon 9000 Pro have what it takes to push DirectX 8.1 into Joe Sixpack's computer? What exactly did ATI change from the Radeon 8500? We've got the scoop, and we've compared the Radeon 9000 Pro's performance against 12 of its closest competitors. Read on, through some of the biggest graphs you've ever seen, to find out more.

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