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The card
No review would be complete without at least a couple of tantalizing photos. Let's take a look at what kind of card ATI is putting its new chip on.

Like a Radeon 8500, with a few things missing

The Radeon 9700s ATI had on display at the product launch were all dressed up on red PCBs, but ATI has remained conservative with the Radeon 9000. Because almost everything is integrated right on the GPU, the rest of the board is eerily devoid of other chips.

A view from the rear

Memory configurations up to 128MB of DDR SDRAM are supported on the Radeon 9000-based cards, though we're only testing a 64MB version today. Even with its bare PCB and only 64MB of DDR SDRAM, memory chips are still split between the front and back of the card.

You can't actually tell, but there's a smaller, cheaper die under there

The RV250 comes in two flavors: the Radeon 9000 and the Radeon 9000 Pro. The straight Radeon 9000 comes clocked at 250/400MHz core and memory clock speeds. The Pro version runs at the same clocks speeds as the Radeon 8500, 275MHz core and 550MHz memory.

Why ATI insists on gluing its heat sinks to its GPUs escapes me, and it's unfortunate that one can't remove them easily. What's worse, third-party manufacturers tend to follow ATI's lead, so it's hard to rip the heat sink off any Radeon-based card and replace it with a better one for overclocking.

These Hynix chips are actually rated for 300MHz

Curiously, the Radeon 9000 Pro from ATI comes with memory chips rated all the way up to 300MHz. This fact should bodes well for at least a 25MHz overclock for the Radeon 9000 Pro's memory, though third-party manufacturers may use different memory chips on their products.

All ports fed directly from the RV250 chip

Display ports on the Radeon 9000 Pro are all fed by the GPU rather than any external chips, but the port cluster looks exactly the same on the PCI backplate.