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ATi Rage Fury MAXX Videocard Review

ATi Rage Fury MAXX Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Less than top notch performance in the 3D gaming arena is what caused many gaming enthusiasts to shy away from ATi. Though ATi had the potential for becoming the 3D market leader, delays plagued the path of the Rage 128 chip on the way to market shelves. And in this industry, time is as valuable as money. So rather than being recognized as a leader in the graphics industry, OEM sales for low priced PC's and laptop's were their bread and butter.
 70% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ATI May 26 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > ATI Rage Fury MAXX

AFR, SLI, huh?



Implementing multiple processors to achieve a significant performance boost isn't exactly a new concept. This idea is exploited in high end servers and workstations and the same principle can be used with graphics cards as well. In order to get two similar chips working together towards the goal of higher performance, the workload between the chips must be efficiently shared and processed between them. Graphic chipset makers are certainly aware that adding a second chip is far from a cakewalk. Simply adding another processor to the board just isn't enough. Tuning and optimizing the respective load sharing algorithms is as important as the hardware itself. Inefficient algorithms can literally mean the death of a product.

3dfx started this trend of doubling potential graphics performance with their Voodoo 2 line of cards. By purchasing a Voodoo2 product, the end user was given an option to upgrade their current graphics sub system by simply purchasing another Voodoo2 card (same card by the same company) thus preserving the value of the initial expenditure on the first Voodoo2 card. The method used with 2 Voodoo2 boards was known as SLI, or Scan Line Interleaving.

Simply put, when 2 boards are under SLI, one chip will take care of the even numbered scan lines while the other board will simultaneously tackle the odd numbered scan lines. So in effect, we have both processors working on the same frame at the same time. According to ATi, SLI proves to be inefficient as each processor must perform the triangle setup for each frame, which is redundant.

With the idea born under the Aurora label, Alternate Frame Rendering technology divides the load between the two chips frame wise instead of having both chips working on the same frame. One chip will process the current frame while the second chip will render the following frame, and so on... This technology did stir up some controversy regarding "lag" issues considering the nature of the the rendering process with its two Rage 128 Pro chips. "

The rumors centered around the claim that since each Rage 128 Pro chip on the Fury MAXX takes almost twice as long to draw a frame as a GeForce does (although the overall frame rate is the same or higher for the Fury MAXX because it has two chips working together), that there would be a noticeable delay between the time the computer receives input from the user and the time the resulting movement is displayed on the screen." Till date, no one has been able to substantiate these claims of "lag"... AFR has seen its birth in the Rage Fury MAXX and we will continue to see this technology in upcoming ATi MAXX based boards as well, which of course, is a good thing...

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Contents of Article: ATI Rage Fury MAXX
 Pg 1.  ATi Rage Fury MAXX Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — AFR, SLI, huh?
 Pg 3.  Fillrate and Memory Bandwidth
 Pg 4.  Quake III Arena
 Pg 5.  Unreal Tournament
 Pg 6.  DVD and Conclusion

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