FIRE GL Z131 Jan, 2003 By: Ron LaFon
At an estimated street price of $559 (suggested retail price $595), this particular model in the ATI Technologies' Fire GL series, the Z1, is moderately priced, even though it is a dual-headed graphics card with 128MB of DDR RAM. A 256MB version of this card is available, as are models with TV-Out. Performance figures vary according to price across the Fire GL line.
Although it was obvious from our benchmark test results and logs that the ATI Fire GL Z1 offers excellent 3D performance figures, 2D performance does seem weak, as evidenced by the lower test scores on our C2001 benchmark. Whether this weakness lies in the system-level drivers or in the Z1 card remains to be seen.
Included among the Fire GL Z1's drivers is MAXimum, a very good high-performance driver for discreet 3ds max.
The ATI Fire GL Z1's dual 400MHz RAMDACs provide excellent dual-monitor support. You can easily manage dual displays with ATI's Hydravision software. The Fire GL Z1 offers optimized hardware support for Right Hemisphere's Deep Visualizer, an easy-to-use tool for hardware acceleration of photorealistic shaders in leading CAD and DCC applications. Additional hardware optimization is available in Right Hemisphere's Deep Exploration, a 3D asset management tool for sharing 3D content across a variety of media.
After we completed testing for this article, Microsoft released DirectX 9, and ATI was right on top of that announcement with new DirectX 9-compliant drivers. Unfortunately, these developments happened too late for us to test the drivers. The warranty for ATI's Fire GL Z1 is a standard three years.