Even before running the first benchmark for this review, I knew that the Athlon XP 1600+ processor would be limiting the performance of the Radeon 9700 Pro. Even overclocking the graphics card ended up being an exercise in futility. At default clock speeds the Radeon 9700 Pro still has more than enough headroom for better performance, but overclocking failed to provide any appreciable benefit.
Using MadOnion's 3DMark2001, a test run was done using each of the quality settings mentioned on the previous page at default clock speeds. Using Rage3D's Tweak Utility, I also overclocked the graphics core frequency from 324MHz to 360MHz and the memory frequency from 310MHz to 330MHz. These clock speeds were completely stable and may not represent the highest speeds this product is capable of. Regardless, the results illustrate that the processor is holding back any speed enhancements the graphics card is given.
Rage3D Tweak Utility
Looking to support this argument further, the processor speed was increased by a marginal amount. Should my logic prove to be correct, the increased processor and front side bus speed will improve scores dramatically. In addition, the increased performance offered by the Radeon 9700 Pro will begin to evolve. Referencing the figure below, one can see that this initial theory is correct as scores in 3DMark2001 increase by over 1,000 points.
3DMark2001 SE - Overclocking Combination Results
Note that this type of scenerio also occurs with other high-end graphics cards as well.