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  • dripgoss - Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - link

    "pricing for the "high end" cards is utterly ridiculous..."

    The rules of supply and demand are in full effect here. When the card companies see people selling X800XTPE's and 6800U's on ebay for $600-$800, they feel justified MSRPing at $500+. Basically, they do it because they can!

    What I'd like to see is one of the companies take the initiative and release a high end card at $300 (and have the supply to back up the launch). That'll make the other gpu companies scramble. But I doubt that'll happen any time soon since they're all just riding high on the hog right now...
  • MadAd - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    1920x1200 GAMING BENCHES PLEASE! :¬) Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    It's amazing looking at what treat you people were in for. Reply
  • Live - Friday, December 03, 2004 - link

    It looks like using the Catalyst A.I. optimizations will let the X850 XT PE tie and even surpass the 6800GT in DOOM 3.

    From the conclusion at

    When you look at the R480 part we've tested today and compare it to NVIDIA's current high end PCIe offerings, the winner is ATI on every front. With Catalyst A.I. enabled, the ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition is able to at least tie, but usually outperform the 6800GT in Doom 3 tests. In our other game tests, the results all swing in ATI's favor, with the ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition fastest in every other test.

    the ATI part cost a lot more tough but still interesting stuff. hopefully we will read more about this as these cards hit retail. If there is no visible quality penalties I don't see any reason to not include these figures in future tests.
  • Thatguy97 - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

  • Live - Friday, December 03, 2004 - link

    It's good to see that AnandTech uses an AMD CPU when testing a card for gaming. Many other sites still uses Intel which seems stupid after the same sites have been crowning AMD CPUs the king of gaming for a long time now.

    I still would like to see some indication of the lowest frame rates or at least some way of seeing the consistency of this average frame rate. If a card shows FPS just over 30 in Doom 3 it might be playable if the FPS is evenly spread. But if it jumps up when not fighting and down to rock bottom while you are its hard to call it playable, even if the average frame rates are the same.
  • bldckstark - Friday, December 03, 2004 - link

    I think maybe Tech sites should stop publishing articles on pre-market parts. That way they would have to have parts available on store shelves or they get no publicity. I am a motorcycle enthusiast also and it is almost the same type of hobby in that you don't get to try what you are buying. You are dependent on the media to test and poke and prod to find the ins and outs of all the options, then you sift through and go buy it. Motorcycle media does not test pre-production machines.

    Know what you get if you cross Bill Gates and Hugh Hefner?

    Already happened - it's called internet porn.
  • fuzzynavel - Friday, December 03, 2004 - link

    They charge $500 because they can....If people stopped buying them then they would have to drop the prices....but seeing as people keep paying then they are not going to drop the prices! Reply
  • rslayerr - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    well...just a little comments,well,i dont understand why people always say that ati's high end card are not in store,,,etc...
    well im in quebec,canada and here..i can buy those almost everywhere...look like you guys are from the "states?"?must have some kind of advantage here since ati his canadian..or maybe a question of number of population..
  • Googer - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    Reminds me of the ATI 9700pro, It's a GeForece Killer! Reply
  • Araemo - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    While I'm an ATI fan, I'll fully admit that this refresh was disappointing, unlike the poster above who is 'so tired' of people complaining about the X800 being old technology..

    I seem to recall that being the same complaint leveled against the Geforce3 series back around the same time the (New) 8500 series came out?

    And the Geforce 4 MX..

    that is still essentially a Geforce 2?

    This is what these companies do. This time around, nVidia wins. Next round... who knows?
  • segagenesis - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    I remember when a good SVGA card would have cost $500 or more... prices are all relative. But yeah, it is disappointing that say 2 years ago $400 would have bought you the highest of the highest end and now you would have to spend $500+ to achieve that. Bleech! And why are these companies competing with themselves? (6600GT vs. 6800?) Reply
  • Momental - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    #50 I can understand what #47 was saying about being "brainwashed". It wasn't too long ago when $350 really woulda gotten you the SuperDuper Ultra MackDog 730Xi 120G viddy card. It's like the price of gas: I can remember when I thought $1.83 per gallon was highway robbery and now, when I see $2.09, I practically run over joggers as I cross the sidewalk to be next in line at the pump. Knowhuddamean? ;)

    We're all so used to thinking that $350 is a "great" price whereas 3 years ago, we woulda been hard-pressed to spend that much. But, who am I kiddin'? I'd gladly fork over #349.95 plus shipping for a card that allowed me to fly with my hair on fire down some zombie-infested corridor with hellspawns in tow if I knew it'd get me an excellent frame rate! :D
  • xsilver - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    also forgot to add -- I just think that its ATI giving more info on their processess while nvidia just say its a kickass card and keep the manufactuiring secrets to themselves Reply
  • xsilver - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    I would like to ask why ATI has all this hoopla about using TMSC "low k" process or some other crap -- doesn't Nvidia also use TMSC -- therefore they would both have the same processes availble to them? or is TMSC favouring ATI? If I was nvidia and that was the case -- id be pissed and take my buisness elsewhere Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    The whole point of today's launch is the X800 XL. It's a good enough competitor to 6800 GT and that I think is what ATi needed the most. Let's just hope the price is really $350 or less and that we can acctually buy these things soon.

    And AGP in NOT DEAD! WTF are you talking about man?!? At present ALL AMD market is still 100% pure AGP and not too many people will be switching over to nForce 4 anytime soon, because without SLI there is little point and with SLI it's just too prohibitive due to price (for now) and PSU requirements (forever). 5 molexs just too run a card that's at lest worth running in SLI - not the 6600GT? Mind you I have a VERY good PSU and I don't have 5 spare molexs. Do you?

    PCIe won't take off until untill we get a good reason. They wanted to force us by only offering new cards as PCIe, but nVidia screwed them with the bridge chip (6600 GT AGP - ATi only has an old R9800Pro to compete with here) so now they're playing catch up. Looks like they still have some way to go -- january 05. And then before availability picks up, .... man we're looking at spring 05 before ATI gets at lest close to nVidia and then we get R520 with SLI, and a new nVidia lineup ... blah too much of everything. Let's just wait and see. I'm preety happy right now (NF3 250GB,A643200@3400+(220FSB)/R9800Pro), I can wait.
  • KoolMonkey - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    ATI it seems wants to bury AGP but will be forced to release new cards in the spec as the market is still hugley AGP at present and won't change in drastic numbers for quite awhile. I have an ATI X800XT PE AGP card and would have liked to have seen Anandtech include this in their comparisons. Why didn't you include ATI's best AGP card vs ATI's best PCI-E card? Reply
  • Avalon - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    Also, forgot to note the X850XL is a PCI-e only part, so that will also be a determining factor in which card you'll buy. Regardless, if it can overclock like I have a good feeling it can, it will be arguably the best bang for the buck card in ATI's arsenal. Reply
  • Avalon - Thursday, December 02, 2004 - link

    Brainwashed? What are you talking about? You just admitted the card was the best price/performance ratio of all the current ATI cards, and then go on to say it's not a great card? I guess that means the 6800GT is not a great card either. I'm tired of people complaining about the ATI cards being "old tech". It's a video card. It performs. What else do you want? It's not a great card because it doesn't support SM3.0? Give me a break. A lot of people could care less about that feature. It's certainly not widespread enough for the average gamer to care. If you want SM3.0, get an Nvidia card. Otherwise, the X800XL is very close to the 6800GT in most benchmarks, and is $50 less, PLUS it's a 110nm chip. Slap a good HSF on the thing and you should have some GREAT headroom, assuming the 110nm process isn't a disaster for ATI, which I doubt it'd be, since they've toyed with it before. Reply
  • Staples - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Yay for another dumb naming convention. ATi did this intentionally and I hope it turns people off to the brand. They did this with the R300 too but it is even worse this time, they all have 850xx in the name. As for me, I will be sticking with my 6800GT, these new cards are not much faster and the cost for the small performance gain is ridiculous. Reply
  • ShadowVlican - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    thanks for the great review Anand!

    i particularly liked the way you compared X800XL, X800, and X850Pro... that was very well done and to the point... i've yet to see another review site do that...

    however i do wish to see the X700 and 6800 in there
  • flexy - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Keep an eye on the x800 XL. That's the interesting card of the bunch. At a $349 suggested MSRP (you know we'll shortly see deals for $300 for the card), this is a great card.

    its not a GREAT card, it merely has the best price/perf ratio of ALL these current cards.

    Two/Three years $350 got you the cream of the high-end top-of-the line cards....and TODAY $350 dont even give you a new GPU, just a a refresh of what is BASICALLY the 9700, 9800, X800 etc...all the same old **** with the same shaders and the same tech (basically).

    Ironically, i caught myself TOO thinking that $349 is a good price - well just as proof how brainwashed "we" already are....
  • flexy - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Maybe they wanted to throw out some product to see how well it sold and in which flavor (AGP or PCI-e)?
    WHAT products ? :)

    * nonexistant cards ?
    * cards for $500 - $800 ?

    ALso..the question AGP/PCI is irrelevant since AGP is dead..sorry to bring the news :)
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #35, HDTV is MPEG2; both companies have had working MPEG2 decoding abilities for some time. Even the 68xx's broken processor still does MPEG2. Reply
  • skunkbuster - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #41 i've read an article not too long ago that ati had not updated their openGL drivers in over a year.
    also, add to the fact that their fireGL video cards, while theoretically ~should~ have had better performance than nvidia's(higher clock speed/emory pipelines), consistantly were OUTPERFORMED(by a good bit too) by nvidia and their older tech.

    i'm specifically talking about the fire gl cards that were based off of the 9700/9800 gpu vs. the workstation cards using geforce4/fx gpus.

    these reasons make me believe that its lack of driver optomization; that is not using the card's capbilities to full potential more than anything.

    this might not conern many people, but it does me, since i work with maya.
  • realist - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    also ati is coming out with there SLI type ati cards ownage!! Reply
  • carldon - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I was looking at the SLI benches and the 6600GT in SLI has almost the same performance as the X800XL, X850Pro and of course the X800. The SLI option is great for people who want to upgrade later and also want the SM3.0 option. But the cost of Nforce4 motherboards, if high, could tip the scales in Ati's favour. This is going to an interesting price war over the next month.
  • Noli - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Am I right in thinking that nvidia big lead in doom3 performance is because its latest cards carry out that shadow occlusion thingie whereby a the shadows for a lightsource pointing out of a scene aren't calculated? That's a huge advantage and I never got the feeling that ATI was doing the same. If I'm right and ATI OGL drivers are not that bad but it's just the shadows thing, could ATI not steal and implement this idea too? Reply
  • Pollock - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I'd have to agree that the X800 XL is looking quite nice, especially if they overclock well and have good ram on them. Too bad PCIe is taking forever to get here for the Athlon 64... Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Man, It's way too confusing buying a card these days. There were already way too many ATI model numbers out there, and now this! Why can't they have an entry, Low Mid-range, High Mid-Range and high-end card and leave it at that. Reply
  • sophus - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    model numbers are out of control. just go look at and get bombarded by all of the models...

    i've heard that the purpose of the all the numbers/acronyms is to confuse the consumer into buying a "newer" part, read: more profitable for them.

    the prices are getting too high. $500 for a card?! too much money for a (practical) gamer's most frequently upgraded part.

    also, the availability for these cards is way too low. How long after the release do we have to wait until we can actually see these in stores? is demand that high and supply that low? is there a leak in their bank accounts? are their manuf processes too high?

    a small tweak in their product and they demand top-dollar? or rather, "well this NEW product is just a little bit better then our last one. so instead of lowering the price on our OLD product, we'll just set the bar higher for our NEW product."
  • Mykal Starclem - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I just hope that the large increase in the variety of cards means that a couple of them which actually be available to buy

  • Kasper4christ - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    *cough* Spell check :P
    Page 2
    "before it's clock soeeds are officially set in stone."
  • Steve Guilliot - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Software HDTV decoders/encoder require working DxVA (i.e. ATI cards) for best performance, and sometimes to work at all. For people intersted in going the HTPC route, the video processor is very important, just not to you.
  • miketheidiot - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    extremely unimpressive. My 6800 is still fine. Reply
  • Regs - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    This does not look like a refreash to me. Just seems more like overclocked parts trying to win the performance crown that "no 'one'" can afford. I expect Nvidia to do the same. ATI even has the nerve to charge 400 dollars for a 12 pipe design. At least have it include Dual Dvi. I know it may not need the extra 4 pipes enabled, but it just seems like their taking you for a ride for a few extra MHz. Reply
  • Araemo - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I stand corrected, though iDCT is VERY old tech, that nVidia had around from at least the geforce 4 series(if not the gf2 series), and ATI has had since sometime in the RAGE series.

    And the "Motion compensation" sounds like what ATI has enabled via their drivers in a couple aps (Divx Player and Realplayer, if I'm not mistaken.)

    Motion estimation is what I was thinking the only new use was, my mistake. Though I DO hope that nvidia at least has iDCT working, if not the motion compensation as well. The main selling point I saw w/ regards to the video processor was the ENCODE.. since I've never had a cpu usage problem while decoding a video.. even on a pentium 2 running windows 2000.

    #26: I don't think 'decent' is the right word.. their drivers are decent, they just aren't fast.

    I draw the distinction because of the number of video cards I've had with UNSTABLE drivers. I am very happy with the stability of the Catalyst 4.x series drivers.

    That said.. nVidia has stable AND fast openGL drivers.. hello ATI?
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #4, it's not worth getting worked up over anyone's video processor at this point. Nvidia's 68xx processor may be broken, but even if it worked, it doesn't make a difference. There are not any MPEG4 decoders on the market that can use either company's card, and WMV acceleration on my X800 Pro is having no impact: frame rates and CPU usage stay the same. And let's not even talk about hardware assisted encoding...

    The whole "video processor" idea has so far turned out to be a joke from both sides.
  • Zebo - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #10 the USD has lost 33% of it's value since GF4 days so in reality Vcards are the same price just your dollar is'nt worth anything. Reply
  • WSquared - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    The article says: "Unfortunately, we haven't located any 12-pipe NVIDIA GeForce 6800 PCI Express solutions...

    There's one in the UK here:
    Look for the "OcUK GeForce 6800 GTo 256MB"
    It's a strange 12 pipe card clocked at 350/900. I'm sure it could be down-clocked if required for benchmarks.
  • archcommus87 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Yeah, if frickin' nForce 4 boards with PCI-E would finally come out...

    Man it's taking so long.
  • Avalon - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Keep an eye on the x800 XL. That's the interesting card of the bunch. At a $349 suggested MSRP (you know we'll shortly see deals for $300 for the card), this is a great card. It outperforms the x800 and x850 pro, costs less, and runs on a 16 pipeline architecture. If it has room to overclock, some noticeable performance gains should be there. It sounds like an awesome alternative to the 6800GT for those that are $50 short. Reply
  • skunkbuster - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    why can't ati makde -decent- openGL drivers? they ~still~ suck when it comes to open gl games/software

  • MadAd - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Anand, will you or someone at AT sometime soon please either include 1920x1200 in normal reviews, or, could you do a one off set of benchmarks with all the dx9 cards at your disposal, at 1920x1200 please?
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #6, the Video Processing Unit is for encode AND decode. This is well documented. From NVidia's website:

    "Adaptable Programmable Video Processor

    Video Decoding
    A key element of modern-day video processing, MPEG-2 is the basis for such functions as DVD playback. Through advanced technology functions such as motion compensation and inverse discrete cosine transformation (IDCT), the GeForce 6 Series GPUs handle MPEG-2 decoding very efficiently, offloading the CPU of the heavy lifting involved in video playback. The result is smooth, high-quality video and reduced power usage.

    Another important factor is that the GeForce 6 Series GPUs are completely programmable and can handle formats such as WMV9 and MPEG-4. The NVIDIA motion compensation engine can provide decompression acceleration for a variety of video formats including WMV9, MPEG-4, H.264, and DiVX. As with motion compensation for MPEG-2, the NVIDIA video engine can perform most of the computation-intensive work, leaving the easiest work to the CPU.

    Video Encoding
    The GeForce 6 Series GPUs are also capable of hardware video encode acceleration. Traditionally, video encoding is a difficult and time consuming process. The GeForce 6 Series GPUs include a motion estimation engine. Using state-of-the-art technologies, the motion estimation engine delivers higher-quality video at the same or lower bit rate, as well as lower CPU utilization for improved system performance."
  • Momental - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Part of me sees this as a brilliant marketing and test strategy for ATi. Yup. The availability of their high-end cards have been all but non-existent and who's to say this wasn't intentional? Maybe they wanted to throw out some product to see how well it sold and in which flavor (AGP or PCI-e)?

    Now they know and this is why we'll have no problem getting our hands on these "refreshed" cards in the next 6 to 10 weeks, if not sooner.

    I'm suggesting that they merely offered cards like the X800XT PE as a "test drive" to see how well it performed and how quickly it left shelves. My hope is that they don't cripple the X800XL card, which looks to be the "sweet spot" here, because they know it performs better and costs less than the X850Pro!!

    In a short while, we'll all see how their new naming convention makes perfect sense as they cull out the "older" cards and make the newer refreshed ones their "top shelf" vodkas. ;)
  • Noli - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    The X800 XL gives you 16 pipes for $350 on a 0.11 micron chip. With such a small fan (must be cool?) and low core/mem, *if* it overclocks well it could be a blinder and out-do 6800GT for value just below the top of the range cards. I'll be keen to see how it does. Big if though for the moment... Reply
  • archcommus87 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I couldn't agree more about naming the products! How can they make something so simple so difficult? Maybe someone more in touch with them like Anand themselves could give them a piece of their mind.

    Here's how it should be done. Each new type of card can be a new hundreds series, i.e. 100s, 200s, 300s, etc. Then the specific products can be within there. For example, low end 110, middle 150, high 190. And then if they marginally increase the clocks of the best card, make it the 195. Simple!

    And I couldn't agree more on prices, too. I remember when the top of the line was $300 (never remember it being less than that). Now if you want the best you're talking almost $600. And for the best CPU? Over $1,000. Absurd. I'd never more than:

    $200 for a CPU
    $150 for a motherboard
    $300, MAYBE $350 for a video card
    $150-$200 for memory
    $150 for hard drive
  • bigpow - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I'd like to see the 6800 in the comparison Reply
  • Booty - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Yeah, this product naming is getting out of control - I don't even want to take the time to try to get them straight. I'll wait until everything's actually available, then try to see what the best option in each price range is. Right now, though, I have to go lie down - trying to remember what product is which gave me a headache. Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I would like to know too since we 6800GT's in a CAD environment and haven't had ANY problems with them.
  • BenSkywalker - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Any chance of seeing high res testing again? Reply
  • Alphafox78 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #9, how is the 6800GT "slightly unreliable"?? Ive had one for months and have no "reliability issues." Reply
  • D0rkIRL - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I'm looking into that X800 now, as a possible budget upgrade, so I don't have to switch over to nVidia and get the 6600GT AGP. Reply
  • Entropy531 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    The X800 XL has some potential if it OCs well. The 6800GT is still the best option though, if you go PCI-E. Reply
  • shabby - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Worst refresh release ever! A minor bump in core/mem does not equal 50 bucks more.

    Im thinking that the agp x800 cards are not going to fall in price at all, these pcie only cards are not competing against them so it makes sense(for ati) to keep prices high for both the x800 and x850 cards.

    Now lets hope nvidia comes out with a 500/1200 6900 ultra :)
  • istari101 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Considering the fact that both ATI and Nvidia are technological think tanks, you'd think they could do a less confusing job of naming their cards. :| Reply
  • flexy - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    pricing for the "high end" cards is utterly ridiculous...the (so called) high-end (X850) which is only a refresh of current tech is totally overprized, has dual slot cooling etc.....

    And...R520 is already taped out...

    Who pays $520 for this stupid card which, not even has SM3.0 and is only marginally better than previous versions ? Retards ?
  • jkostans - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I miss the days of $200-$300 video cards being the top of the line (Voodoo2, TNT2, Geforce 1-4). I dunno why anyone would want to spend any more than this on a video card unless they've got money to burn. Reply
  • IdahoB - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I just hope that the large increase in the variety of cards means that a couple of them which actually be available to buy. It seems that they have more model numbers than physical stock these days. I would have loved a X800 of some description but couldn't find one anywhere in the UK so settled for the still slightly unreliable 6800GT. Reply
  • Araemo - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #7: At least it's less confusing than intel's new numbering system. yeesh. Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    X800 Pro,
    X800 XL,
    X800 XT,
    X800 XT PE,
    X850 Pro,
    X850 XT
    and X850 XT PE

    9 models of high-end ATI cards? Oh man that is really confusing even for enthusiasts and geeks...
  • Araemo - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    #4 The 'video processing unit' isn't for playback, it's for encode, and as far as I'm aware, ATI's non-AIW cards don't have hardware encode either. Reply
  • Araemo - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    I guess my 9700 Pro is safe for another 8-12 months...

  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    No-one is mentioning the one thing ATI almost certainly has in its favor: video playback. The GeForce 68xx's "video processing unit" still does not have drivers that take advantage of it, whyever the case may be. ATI has always had a strong tradition of video playback performance. I'd really like to see Anandtech bench CPU usage with these cards with 1080 HD .WMV files, as well as with MPEG-2/MPEG-4. This would be truly useful for enthusiasts and help round out our buying decisions. Reply
  • gibhunter - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    Ati is looking desperate with this release. Their fastest part is what, 3% faster then their previous champ. On top of that, you still can't find these fastest cards. If they were trying to confuse the customer, they might as well consider it mission accomplished.

    Personally, I'd just stick with 6800GT and have an upgrade path with an SLI Nforce4 board and another 6800GT in the future.
  • segagenesis - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    The X850 Pro is somewhat disappointing vs. its competition, does nVidia even have refresh parts planned for winter? I was looking at the $400 price range myself :( Reply
  • Cat - Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - link

    If it means more cards are available for less cost, than I'm all for this. It's still kinda disappointing, though. Reply

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