Price Guides September 2004: Video and Memoryby Adam Rader on September 12, 2004 12:05 AM EST
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Video Cards - ATIATI's X800 series cards continue to be among the priciest of options this week, sporting price tags in the range of $400+. This, of course, is not unexpected, since the bleeding edge has always been where the dollar signs are. This means that we cannot reasonably recommend the X800 (Pro of XT) to anyone except the most hardcore enthusiast. Don't get us wrong - the performance is definitely worthy of the price tag, with reviews showing essentially double the performance of the last generation 9800 Pros.
For those on a more earthly budget, the Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro continues to be our favorite video option. The fact that this card can be had for under the $200 price-point goes a long way towards making this a wise purchase.
Whether you go for the absolute highest end of video performance or not, it is worth keeping in mind that many new Intel motherboards are starting to push PCIe very strongly. A lot do not have AGP slots and do so in favor of PCIe. So, if you're going to be building an entirely new system, it does make the X800 a more plausible solution.
Both the Sapphire and PowerColor Radeon 9600 Pros are available for under $140 for the low-end or budget segment. The 9600 Pro has been known to provide a lot of bang for the buck even in gaming, but if gaming is not a requirement, this card is just as well suited for everyday computing.