THOSE OF YOU who have read my preview of next-gen graphics chips will know that I'm optimistic about the prospects for DirectX 9-class graphics hardware. The Radeon 9700 Pro graphics card we're reviewing today is the first DX9-class product to hit the market, so we're naturally excited about it.
However, I was surprised to see that the Radeon 9700 didn't ship with a single piece of code capable of taking advantage of its most important new features, including its new floating-point datatypes that allow for very high color precision. Not only that, but I searched around online, and I couldn't find anything there, either. Microsoft's DirectX 9 isn't available yet, and all those fancy demos ATI showed off at the Radeon 9700 launch were apparently written in Direct3D. ATI has a set of OpenGL extensions in the works, but those aren't ready for prime time yet.