RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.29.00]
Manufactured by: ATI
MSRP: $299

Supplied by ICI Computer


What do we get?

Besides just popping two under-performing chips on one card to make one fast accelerator, ATI also increased the clock speed.  The original Rage Fury Pro ran at 103 MHz core and 103 MHz memory clocks.  The Maxx runs in at 125/125.  You do get the same great DVD acceleration you did in the Fury Pro, but you won't benefit from the two processors, as the second one is automatically disabled in all 2d applications.

One of the major complaints about the 128 Pro chipset was the horrible bilinear filtering and dithering in 16 bit apps.  This has been largely taken care of in the Maxx, but there is still some room for improvement.  Image quality was fairly decent in 32 bit apps, but still not up to par with the Maxx's main competition, the GeForce.

Want to see how much room there is for improvement with the 16 bit dithering? Have a look at this screenshot, which compares it to the GeForce.  Both shots were taking in High Quality Mode, with 16 bit textures and rendering on.  The resolution used was 800x600, but I cropped a piece out and zoomed it in by 200%.

ATI Tells us that they have improved their 16 bit rendering.... See for yourself...

Like the GeForce (when you use the 5.xx drivers, which are available here), The Maxx supports texture compression in both D3D and OpenGL applications.  Unfortunately, because of premature driver issues (using the term lightly), there was little to no difference in preliminary Quake 3 benchmarks.  Unlike with the GeForce, which gets about 5-10 extra frames per second with use of compressed textures, the Rage Maxx gains absolutely nothing.  I will attribute this to the fact that, although the product was released over 5 months ago, the drivers are still in beta.  This is pretty sad; what are ATI doing over there?

Here are some specs you can check out before we tackle some other issues (I won't waste an entire page on them either).

64MB SDRAM Memory
Dual ATI RAGE 128 Pro
500Mpixels/s fill rate
Alternate Frame Rendering Technology
Dual engine acceleration for full-screen 3D
Single engine acceleration for windowed 3D
Twin Cache Architecture
Single-Pass Multitexturing
32-bit True Color Rendering
Triangle Setup Engine
Bilinear/Trilinear Filtering
Line & Edge Anti-aliasing
Texture compression
Specular Highlights
Z-buffering and Double-buffering
Bump mapping
Fog effects, texture lighting, video textures, reflections, shadows, spotlights, LOD biasing and texture morphing
Hardware DVD support
AGP 4X/2X compatible
Windows 98
OpenGL ICD for Windows 98
DirectX, Direct3D, DirectDraw

Next Page: (3)