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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  • Le Québécois - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    Is it just me or the PowerColor GTO 16 has the exact same spec as the standart ATI Radeon X800XL? Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    Almost. X800XL runs at 400/500 vs. 400/490 of the GTO 16. They also both use the same .11 mikron R430 chip. Reply
  • mamisano - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    Wow, you guys are getting really soft lately. The GTO2's main claim to fame is the ability to unlock the 4 extra pipelines and the tremendous overclocking headroom available. At least give it a try, it can always be flashed back if you experience problems.

    Second, did you actually remove any of the HS units to determine the actual core installed on each card? That and a list of brand/speed of memory used on each one would have been very beneficial to the overall review.

    Seems to be another in a line of reviews with decreasing quality.
    Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I absolutely agree! Very low quality review and VERY, VERY late!!! Reply
  • Zoomer - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I research all of these cards before settling with the c3d gto - and I would have gotten the gto2 if it was avaliable.

    Sapphire GTO2
    R480
    Samsung 1.6ns

    C3D GTO
    R423
    Samsung 2.0ns

    PowerColor
    R430
    Samsung 2.0ns

    An article at anandtech commented on why the Powercolor card (the R430) can't hit high clocks - although it uses a smaller process, the 130nm uses a low k process. The 110nm process does NOT. The article goes on to say that this shrink was to cut costs, at the expense of clock speed.

    However, it is interesting to note that the die shrink didn't do anything to reduce power draw. An investigation into the voltages the R430 is running at is in order. :)

    One more thing to note - the c3d has VIVO, with a rage theatre chip soldered (as usual) on the board.

    I can't remember the ones for ultimtate, but the fireblade should also be using 1.6ns rams.
    Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    I wonder why anandtech never did it earlier ;( Reply
  • coldpower27 - Monday, December 26, 2005 - link

    At least the different manufacturer made it interesting, and customized the boards a little bit to differentiate from one another and not stick to the reference design.

    The 6800 GS is quite the competitor for the X800 GTO, and from my persepctive is a better buy if you want something straight out of the box save for the Powercolor X800 GTO 16. Though there is also the XFX Edition clocked at 485/1100 to worry about.
    Reply

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