ATI is the current market leader in graphics chips, and offers four varieties of DirectX 9-capable video cards; these are the company's most sophisticated products when it comes to 3D rendering. Strictly speaking, the RADEON 9500 PRO is number three out of four – and while it's not quite top of the line, it's still a respectable card.
Gigabyte's R9500 PRO impressed us with marvellous all round performance – it's able to at least match NVIDIA’s GeForce4 Ti4600 in most current tests and defeats it by a huge margin in the newly released 3DMark03.
3DMark03 is a new DirectX 9-based benchmark from Futuremark, and is a good way of gauging how a card will perform about a year from now. In this area, the R9500 PRO was more than twice as fast as our comparative Ti4600. We haven't posted results below though, as we need to continue testing 3DMark03 to insure it’s reliable before we fully adopt it.
The R9500 Pro also features some decent bundled software, as well as extra output cables (for TV and dual-monitor support). The GV-R9500 PRO's only real stumbling point is price. At $615, it's significantly more expensive than most 'non-PRO' R9700s, which typically sell for around $550. RADEON 9700 contains minor architectural enhancements – including a 256-bit memory interface compared to the R9500 PRO's 128-bit interface. This difference gives the 9700 a small boost in most games.