ATI Radeon 64 DDR

With its recommended retail price of $779, the Radeon 64 is definitely for the serious and well-funded gamer. At high resolutions, you won't do better without shelling out $800 to $1000 for a GeForce 2 Ultra.

Running Unreal Tournament at 1600x1200 resolution using 32-bit colour, this Radeon nearly matched the Ultra's speeds in our test, turning in a rate of 59 frames per second (fps). The NVIDIA-powered GeForce 2 and GeForce MX boards in our test centre couldn't even complete the test at this resolution level.

At lower resolutions, the Radeon doesn't shine as brightly, coming in below the GeForce 2 boards we tested (and even behind some of the cheaper MX boards). The Radeon was close to the Ultra and the Pro at 640x480 resolution in Quake III. At the higher resolutions, this ATI fell behind, with 42fps and 39fps using 16-bit and 32-bit colour, respectively, compared with the second-ranked NVIDIA GeForce Ultra's 88fps and 55fps. Colours in both Quake III and Unreal Tournament appeared faded. We also saw some jerkiness in Unreal Tournament and Test Drive 6.

This video card doesn't have as many ports as the All-in-Wonder Radeon, but "it still offers more than most: S-Video-out, composite-in and composite-out. With the card's maximum resolution of 2048x1536 in 32-bit colour, very few monitors can exceed its full display capabilities. The Radeon also delivers advanced 3D rendering features such as key frame interpolation and vertex skinning, providing a more realistic output in games which support these features.

ATI provides an excellent five-year warranty on parts and labour for the Radeon - one of the best offered by any vendor. You'll be hard pressed to find a better high-end gamers' board below $800. If you're looking to really test that new 21in monitor, this Radeon offers better support for higher resolution than an MX-based card.

ATI Radeon 64 DDR

Price: $779; Distributor: Servex; Phone: (02) 8762 3500; URL: http://www.ati.com

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Joel Strauch

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