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The Source for Mac Performance News and Reviews

Review: ATI's Retail Radeon AGP Graphics Card
By Mike
Published: 10/16/2000

Intro | 2D Performance | 3D Performance | Game Performance | Video/DVD | Software/TV Controls | Hardware Specs
2D Benchmarks and Photoshop 5.5/Word Scrolling Performance

This page covers the (expected) MacBench 5.0 benchmark results, a scrolling test in Photoshop 5.5 and Word 98.


MacBench 5.0 Results

The graphs below show the results of MacBench's Graphics scripted test (emulation of Mac applications graphics calls, scrolling, zooming, searching/replacing, etc. ). Results with the "Publishing" test (at 1280x1024/millions colors) as well as the "Graphics" test (at 1024x768, thousands color mode) are shown. What really surprised me was the much higher 1280x1024/32bit test scores seen with my single G4/500 system w/Radeon than in my new dual G4/500 system tests. (Even the Rage128 Pro AGP scores were lower in that system but I have not compared ATI driver extension versions between the two yet.) The Radeon's 1024x768/16bit test scores lagged however. My feeling from the first Macbench tests with the OEM/BTO Radeon card was that the 2D drivers were not optimized in this initial release. The 16bit results seem very low for the clock speed of this card.

Macbench 5.0 32bit results graph

Macbench 5.0 16bit results graph


I ran Macbench's full suite of Quickdraw primitives tests but the graph of those results is very long, but if enough readers request it, I'll post the graph on a separate page. I commented on Radeon QD primitives test results compared to the the Rage128 Pro in my BTO card comparison article. Remember MacBench is just a benchmark (and now an unsupported one); what really counts is real world applications performance.


Photoshop 5.5 Scrolling Tests

I measured the time it took to scroll the Flowers.psd file (resampled to 300DPI, an 18MB file) at the 400% zoom. Photoshop was allocated 140MB to make sure there was no swap file activity (verified as Photoshop's efficiency was always shown at 100%). I positioned the scroll bars at the max left and top positions, and then timed how long it took for each card to scroll the image horizontally (left to right) and then vertically (down). Display was set to 1280x1024, millions colors. The results are shown in the table below along with times recorded for other cards/systems in previous reviews. All times are in seconds, lower numbers are faster.


Word 98 Scrolling Tests

I measured the time it took to scroll the a 6.9MB document file (2,187 pages, 45K paragraphs, 144,799 lines) with multiple font sizes, etc. from the first page to the last and then from the last page to the first. Word was allocated 40MB (many times the document size). Display was set to 1152x870, millions colors. The results are shown in the table below along with the performance (%) gain seen from the Radeon card. All times are in seconds, lower numbers are faster.


2D Graphics Performance Summary: As shown above, in some tests the Radeon's 2D performance is a little disappointing in the 16Bit MacBench score and Word98 scrolling tests. Since the MacBench text/character/string privitives scores were very low even compared to the Rage128 Pro AGP (as noted in my BTO card comparison), I can only guess the first driver release has room for improvements in this area. With a faster clock speed than previous ATI cards, I'd have expected the Radeon to perform better.

The next page of the review covers 3D applications (non-games) and 3D Benchmark performance.


Related Links: For more info on graphics card performance, reviews and other related articles - see the main www.xlr8yourmac.com site's video cards page.


Index of RetaiI Radeon AGP Review

Intro | 2D Performance | 3D Performance | Game Performance | Video/DVD | Software/TV Controls | Hardware Specs

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