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Review: ATI Radeon VE (Page 2/8)

Posted: July 8th, 2001
Written by: Tuan "GTk2" Huynh


Graphics controller
RADEON VE graphics processor

Memory configurATIons

Monitor support
CRT Monitor: 15 pin VGA connector
S-Video or composite connector
DVI-I (flat panel display) connector

Display support Register compATIble with VGA
BIOS compATIble with VESA for super VGA
DDC1/2b/2b+ monitor support
VESA Display Power Management Support
Separate horizontal and vertical synchronization at TTL levels

Architecture Features
1 Rendering pipeline
3 textures per pipeline
Core Speed 183 MHz
183 MHz 64bit DDR Memory
Dual 300MHZ Ramdac

3D Acceleration features
Hyper Z technology
Pixel Tapestry Architecture
VIdeo Immersion Technology
Twin Cache Architecture

Looking at the specs, there seems to be a big difference between the Radeon VE and the Radeon. First, ATI has removed one of the rendering pipelines to lower the speed and cost of the card. Second removing the T&L engine (ATI Charisma Engine) will result in a significant performance lost in 3D Gaming that takes advantage of T&L. This doesnít affect business performance at all.

Instead of using the highly praised single 360 MHZ RAMDAC from the Radeon DDRís, ATI has implemented a dual RAMDAC system to support dual monitors. Each monitor has its own separate 300MHz RAMDAC. The downgrade in RAMDAC speed will decrease the Radeon VEís image quality very slightly compared to the Radeon DDR.

Similar to what NVIDIA did to its GeForce 2MX, ATI also crippled the memory bus of the Radeon VE. Where the MX400 received a choice of 128bit SDR or 64bit DDR memory, the Radeon VE is only able to use 64bit DDR, which is essentially the same as 128bit SDR. Since the core is already crippled enough, 64bit DDR memory should be more then enough for the Radeon VE.

While the 2nd Rendering pipeline and T&L engine have been removed, Hyper Z, Video Immersion, and Pixel Tapestry still remain. Hyper Z is ATIís solution to making better use of memory bandwidth. Video Immersion is the set of DVD decoding features all Radeon chips have. Pixel Tapestry allows the VE to render three textures per clock, which is an ATI exclusive.

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