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Posted: February 26, 2002
Written by: Tom
As the war between ATi and Nvidia rages on, so does the need for speed in the world of computer graphics, especially if you are a hardcore tweaker yourself. When looking for that insane frame rate that you will never use in most of today’s games, the first question to usually pop up is: Radeon or GeForce? Well there really is no absolute answer to that question, as everybody has their own personal preference. I happen to be an “Nvidiot” myself, which is the reason I have written this article. So why not a Radeon 8500? Well aside from the near $100 increase over the Radeon 8500 and its higher clock speeds, Nvidia usually offers higher performance numbers in past tests comparing older GeForce and Radeon cards, and the most important factor of all that ATi has seemed to lack for some time now: incredible drivers (with the exception of some problems people have been recently having with the 23.11 Detonators).
The largest two advantages that the Radeon 8500 offers over the GeForce 3 Ti500 are the actual clock speeds of its core and memory, and image quality of both 2D/3D applications. This article will help you neutralize the advantage the Radeon has with actual clock speeds.
Before we begin, we would like to give an enormous thanks to Ross Wenger, otherwise known as “Tweakmonster” from Tweakmonster.com for supplying two of our fine test materials, a chrome colored Fan Bracket and the new Tin Plated Copper RAMsinks, which also provide a beautiful touch to any case. Another big thanks goes to William Gordon at The Heatsink Factory for supplying us with the ThermalTake Crystal Orb to use on the core.
Now with all that said, let us begin…
Here we see the actual materials that we will be using. Beautiful aren’t they? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.
Given the impressive reflective ability of these materials, they would look good on virtually any card you can think to put them on. For the RAMsinks, this also means the memory chips on your DIMMs. For this article, we went with the PNY Verto model GeForce 3 Ti500. This card already sports a sleek titanium look with its black PCB and metallic heatsinks.
The only problem with these heatsinks is that the memory lacks active cooling and the heatsinks that run across the chips is made out of incredibly light aluminum. The active HSF that covers the core is sufficiently large, however, it lacks a large fan to provide good cooling for an overclock.
The first thing that was put on the card was the Crystal Orb which we will see put against its older brother, the Blue Orb (commonly known as the Blorb) later. One difference between the two that should be noticed right away is that the Crystal Orb is much larger than the Blue Orb and sports a highly reflective nickel plated copper base.
Below we can see the size difference in comparison to the card’s stock cooling.
The core clock of the Radeon 8500 runs at a fast 275MHz while the core on the Ti500 runs at 240MHz. With some Artic Silver Epoxy applied on the core under the Crystal Orb we were able to obtain a nice increase of 40MHz bringing the core to 280MHz stable. (All stability tests consisted of Quake 3 time demos and an additional 10 minutes of actual game play).
A respective increase over the stock cooled overclock considering that the core speed is rarely as easy to increase as the memory clock speed. Notice however, that the Crystal Orb only allows about a 5MHz increase over the Blue Orb, which begs the question: is the Crystal Orb really worth the cash? Well, before you think of an answer; consider the difference in materials used in the making of both of them. The Crystal Orb is made of a fine copper base and the Blue Orb uses aluminum, which seems to make the small difference in clock speeds on the core between the two.
Thanks again, The Heatsink Factory for supplying the cooler.