When I was building my HTPC Radeon cards were considered the best of the best, with the 9800 Pro being the king. Mike Parker also was selling a modification for Radeon cards that made them even better. The modification is expensive ($470) but from everything that I had read about it, it was well worth the money. My original plan was to just buy a 9800 pro and then maybe eventually add the MP-1 mod to it. Then one day I was going through the classified ads over at AVS and I came across a guy selling a 9500 Pro with the MP-1 mod for a really good price. It was still more than I was planning on spending on a video card but the deal was too good to pass up so I jumped on it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the MP-1 clarity mod here is the description taken from their web page. “The MP-1 attaches directly to the video cards internal RGB output. The Mp-1 adds an active filter network and output driver for optimal video transmission over 75 ohm cables resulting in noise reduction and an increase in picture clarity” and it goes on to say “The MP-1 also improves and clarifies shadow detail, providing an improvement in image quality and improved color rendering. These dramatic results are accomplished with a very unique active filtering process, supported by a mini isolated switching power supply.” The card also adds five BNC RGBHV outputs which is very nice for us CRT projector owners who have this type of input on our projectors.
I have been extremely happy with the card. The image quality is outstanding. Unfortunately I have never made a comparison between an unmodified card and a MP-1 modified card so I can’t say how much of a difference there is, but by going off what I have read the difference is noticeable. I have heard from enough different people about how much better a modified card is that I tend to believe them, I know that I find the image quality amazing. To see a sample of what my image looks like, check out the screenshots page in the home theater section of my web site. I realize that screenshots are not the best judge of quality but it should give you a basic idea of the results that I am achieving.
On a more technical note I have not had any problems with driver issues (I am using driver 220.127.116.1167) or anything like that in regards to my 9500 Pro. The card has given me zero problems in that regard, it has been rock solid.
In an effort to keep my HTPC as quiet as possible I have installed a Zalman heatpipe cooler, Model ZM80C-HP on my 9500 pro. I am a big fan of Zalman products and this heatpipe cooler didn’t disappoint. The construction is great, it really helped quiet down the case and installation, while a bit involved, went smoothly with their excellent directions. If you want to make your HTPC quieter, I suggest picking one up.
Radeon 9500 Pro Specs
|Description:||Radeon 9500 Pro AGP 128MB 2D/3D|
|Type of Video Card:||2D/3D Video w/TV Support|
|Connectors:||Video – 15 pin High-Density D-shell (VGA), Video – 4 pin mini-DIN (S-Video), Video – BNC Composite Video, Video – DVI (Digital Flat Panel)|
|AGP Support:||AGP 2X, AGP 4X, AGP 8X|
|Color Depth at Maximum Resolution:||16.7 Million Colors (32-bit)|
|RAMDAC Speed:||400 MHz|
|Refresh Rate at Max Resolution:||60 Hz|
|Resolution:||1024 x 768 (XGA), 1152 x 864, 1280 x 1024, 1600 x 1200 (UXGA), 1920 x 1080, 1920 x 1200, 1920 x 1440, 2048 x 1536, 640 x 480 (VGA), 800 x 600 (SVGA)|
|Video Chipset:||ATI RADEON 9500 Pro|
|Installed Video Memory:||128 MB|
|Memory Technology:||DDR-SDRAM (DDRRAM)|
|Base Warranty:||3 year(s)|
|Labor Warranty:||3 year(s)|
|Parts Warranty:||3 year(s)|
|Warranty Information:||3 year limited warranty|