Radeon 9700 teething problems

The release of the 9×00 series of RADEON cards has been a hot news item and a hot forum topic. The posts currently catching my attention are bug report threads and more heated items like this Derek Smart commentary. Derek makes his opinions known about the current driver state of the 9700 Pro and he also provides e-mails from ATI to substantiate his claims. It’s an entertaining and informative thread, but it’s also classic Derek, so the thread is caustic and carries a pretty low signal-to-noise ratio.

Also on the ATI radar this week is a possible interface issue with the initial 9700 stepping and AGP 8X chipsets from VIA and SiS. The Rage3D forum discussion starts here with a post stating that ATI engineering has confirmed the problem and that customer service is now issuing board replacements for people having difficulty. TweakTown ran a related story on Thursday with the following info:

ATi Radeon 9700 AE2 Stepping AGP 8x Bug

Published: 12/09/2002 07:08:20 AM

Author: Cameron Wilmot

Since receiving our Sapphire Radeon 9700 graphics card a couple of days ago during testing we have been experiencing a few strange problems – such as continuous system reboots and programs and games crashing back to Windows desktop when used on all SiS 648, VIA KT400 and P4X400 based motherboards with AGP 8X support operational which we currently have testing.

We cannot be 100% sure if this is an isolated problem however can be sure in saying we received confirmation from our contact at Epox Taiwan (who got first hand information direct from ATi) saying the problem is only occurring in AE2 stepping Radeon 9700 chips, and not the newer AE3 chips which are now shipping from the Canadian company, who say fix the problems discussed here. The problem is, the AE2 stepping chips are vast, and thus many made it into the retail market where end-users are no doubt going to suffer. It’s important to note that we had no problems what-so-ever running the AE2 stepping Radeon 9700 on VIA KT333 and Intel 845E/G based motherboards operating in either AGP 2x or 4x modes.

If this is true, I suspect ATI marketing will announce this info publicly when all their ducks are in a row.

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