Introduction

Mid-range graphics cards are becoming more and more abundant on today's market from both NVIDIA and ATI. The market has become a little bit congested with cards like the X800 GT, X800, X800 XL, and four flavors of the scarce X1600. Many might want to read about hardware on the high-end, but what most people are actually buying is in the mid-range. And thus, we are taking a look at one of the best mid-range cards around. With all the clutter and options out there, it can be hard to figure out what to buy. Nevertheless, those who subscribe to the "more-is-better" philosophy will appreciate yet another mid-range graphics card from ATI called the Radeon X800 GTO.

We aren't exactly sure why there has been such a volley of mid-range cards between NVIDIA and ATI lately, but it could be an attempt by ATI to at least gain some kind of foothold on the mid-range graphics front (given their struggle to keep up on the high-end this past year) to assure decent sales for the holidays.

But all speculation aside, quality graphics cards at value prices are a good thing, no matter how you look at it, and luckily, the X800 GTO looks to offer good performance and prices. ATI fans won't be disappointed with this card at all, and gamers in general will want to consider this when looking to upgrade.

For this review, we'll take a look at four different variations of the X800 GTO, two of which are by Sapphire, and all interestingly different from each other. The first is the Sapphire X800 GTO Ultimate, which is a silent version of the GTO; the second, the Sapphire X800 GTO2 (pronounced GTO "squared"), a limited edition part that has received a lot of attention due to its alleged overclocking abilities. The third and fourth cards that we'll look at are the Connect3D X800 GTO and the PowerColor X800 GTO 16. All of these cards are excellent graphics solutions, but most of them have features that set them distinctly apart from the eachother.

The GTO has been out a little while now and we've been interested in taking a look at some of them. We can assure you that they are pretty decent, but we'll let you know just how good these cards really are considering the performance and cost. Value is what it's about and we will be looking at how each of these four GTOs stack up against each other and some other graphics cards as well. As usual, we will be doing extensive performance tests, as well as overclocking and power consumption tests to see what these cards are capable of.

Now without further ado, let's look at the cards.

Sapphire X800 GTO Ultimate
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  • classy - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    This review is really lacking.I agree with Avalon and others, without breaking down the differences and unlocking the cards that can be unlocked the review is really lacking in info. The reviews have to to get back to what made Anandtech tops, which is uncovering the true potential of the hardware. Reply
  • BenSkywalker - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I would agree the review is quite lacking. In the $200 range there are two serious competitors- unlocked 16 pipe GTOs and the 6800GS neither of which were shown in this test. Why exclude the only two configurations really worth considering? Reply
  • Avalon - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    This review is useless without attempting to unlock the cards and identify the cores and memory used on them. Why even mention how these cards unlock if you aren't even going to do it? Reply
  • Spacecomber - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    It would really be helpful to lay out where these cards are situated in the ATI line-up. For alot of people, including me, its getting difficult to know the differences between all these X800 cards (X800 Pro, X800 XL, X800 GT, X800 GTO), not to mention how the X850 fits in.

    Probably Jarred updating his cheatsheet would be the best place for this info, but Anandtech needs a place where you can go to see which cores are being used, what the basic specifications for these cores are, and a rough estimate of the price for these different models. Doing the same for Nvidia would also be good, though they seem to have a less confusing lineup, with really only the 6800 GS to be added to the 6800 lineup.

    Of course, with the GPU cheatsheet being over a year old, there's no mention of the 7800s or the 1800s, either.

    Space
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    Never knew anandtech was so out of touch with the community, since the GTO² has been making waves in it for the past 4 months. And with that I don't mean the timing of the review, but the content of it.

    What you get is essentially a X850XT for a price a little higher than a standard GTO. The chip is the R480 GUARANTEED to unlock the remaining pipes (yes, that's a 100% succes rate), the cooler is the reference X850Pro cooler, the PCB is the one used for the X850 line and you get the same memory as on the XT PE, as well as the power connector necessary for all of it. I don't see much of it mentioned in the review.

    Actually it's quite pointless buying it if you're not going to do any unlocking. The other GTO's can be had a bit cheaper and with quieter cooling solutions. Regardless, it's a limited edition and finding it 4 months after introduction with such a reputation will be troublesome at best. You are obliged to leave it on the shelf if you're not gonna do unlocking, as you are quite possibly taking away one of the precious remaining cards from someone who is actually wanting one, when you can get another for less money that is gonna service you just as well. Even though the 6800GS took away some of the appeal of buying a SM2.0 type card.
    Reply
  • Cruise51 - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I'm not sure why they left out the Fireblade GTO, It overclocks FAR higher than any of the cards in the review. Reply
  • WhipperSnapper - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link


    I know that the newer Connect3D x800 GTO's have been sabotaged so that they no longer unlock, but shouldn't the article have contained a mention, somewhere, about the possibility a few lucky recipients might be able to unlock them to 16 pipes in addition to their great overclocking? These cards were all the rage back in late October and early November and had an unlocking success rate of about 95% before the new batches were ruined.
    Reply
  • skunkbuster - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    how were the new ones sabotaged? i havent read anything about that
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    They are not sabotaged; they just use a core that isn't unlockable anymore.

    Unlocking is only possible if the right fuses aren't laser cut.
    Reply
  • bamacre - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I would have liked to see the Sapphire X800 GTO Fireblade Edition reviewed and benched as well. It's louder with the huge fan, but I bet it overclocks more than the Ultimate Edition. Reply

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