Introduction

We can still only imagine what's going on over at ATI right now, given how far behind they are in the running for highest-performance graphics card technology. Repeated delays can seriously impact morale, but we sincerely hope (and are willing to bet) that their attitude is one of hopeful optimism. In our experience, ATI has had its share of problems with buggy drivers and frustrating interfaces, more so than NVIDIA we'd say, but they have remained competitive and have consistently provided consumers with quality parts. Periodic hiccups are expected in this industry, and what's important is that, overall, their parts get the job done in terms of providing exceptional graphics and performance for PC gamers.

We know that ATI hasn't given up yet, as there have been various small releases and updates lately. For example, the Crossfire dual card setup that we have is showing promise, as we've just given it an in-depth look. Today, we look at the latest example of their continuation to fight for market share. The fact of the matter is that the budget and mid-range cards sell in far larger quantities than the high end parts, and ATI has released several GPUs recently for this segment. ATI is trying to take care of its budget and mid-price card owners, of which we whole-heartedly approve. Their recent HyperMemory driver update targeted the budget users, and now, we have a new card called the Radeon X800 GT.

We'll be looking closely at this new graphics card from ATI to see how it stands among other similarly priced cards, particularly NVIDIA's 6600 GT and 6800 "vanilla". The X800 GT appears to be ATI's attempt to regain the performance crown in the mid-range segment, as the X700 Pro fell a bit short. Our tests will give us the cold, hard facts about how well this card performs, and perhaps more importantly, how the price will play a significant role in determining the actual value.

The specifications alone suggest that ATI's Radeon X800 GT will be at least a good solution for mid-range gaming performance. This new card also has some interesting architecture/design changes that we'll get to shortly, and we're determined to test it to the fullest. Not only will we be looking at how the card performs in a plethora of games, but we'll also be looking at power consumption as well. Now, we bring you the Radeon X800 GT.

The Card, Specs and Test
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  • ixelion - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    I thinks its important to note if one is building a mid range gaming machine and loocking for the best bang foe the buk, then one would be better off with an AGP system with a 6800nu from a decent manucaturer.

    getting this card to 16 pipelines and at its default clock of 350Mhz (BFG) you get 5.6GPixel fillrate which I think supreseeds all of the cards in the article.

    One should also consider that ATI is releasing some lower level cards using the higher end cores which *might* be good cards for pipelne unlocking provided they dont lock the pipes.
    Reply
  • acx - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    6800 is performing better in EQ with 1600x1200 4XAA than 1280x1024 4XAA?? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    Hmmm... looks like a typo. It looks like 21.6 instead of 11.6 would be more appropriate, given the other charts. Not like either is really good. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    well ... actually ... it's not a typo ...

    we tested and retested ... but kept getting the same thing.

    we can't explain it. sorry we glossed over it, but we are looking into. we should have mentioned it.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    Hey, can you change the teaser line on the frontpage to read, "ATI's answer to a question nobody asked."? That would be much more humorous and accurate. As much as I love my ATi cards, I am really disappointed in them just throwing away all of their initiative this year with long product delays, paper launches, and putting out cards that don't meet the needs of the main gaming fanbase. Reply
  • sri2000 - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    A bit OT, but from the 2nd to last page: "While 236 Watts might seem like a lot, keep in mind that with NVIDIA's 7800 series cards, we've seen power draws as high as 280 Watts..."

    I'm no expert, but if your looking at systems where the max draw is 280 watts, then what would be the point of having a PSU of more than 300 watts (as long as that 300wat PSU is of high quality).

    Wouldn't getting 400/500/and even 600W power supplies just be a waste of money - a victim to manufacturers' bogus marketing?

    Just askin'
    Reply
  • Pythias - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    Thing is cheap power supplies rated at 300 rarely hit 300w and if you look at the systems most of that draw is on the 12v rail. Also if you get a good power supply, rated higher than you need, its going to me more efficient handling smaller loads. Thats means lower energy bills. Reply
  • sri2000 - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    One reason I brought it up is I saw reviews of the Antec Phantom PSUs at silentpcreview.com, and from what they say, it appears that the main difference between the two models (350W and 500W) is that the 350 is fanless, and the 500 has a fan which only kicks in when temperature/power draw warrants it.

    So I'm wondering how many of these high-watt PSUs are merely rated higher because they have more agressive cooling systems, and they're actually not of any better quality than their lower-rated siblings.

    check out this link:
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page4.html">http://www.silentpcreview.com/article28-page4.html

    I guess the reason companies like Dell use relatively low-wattage PSUs is because they're less expensive & higher power units just aren't needed - and they're quieter too.
    Reply
  • kleinwl - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    That is incorrect. An overspec power supply will not be more efficent than a lower (but sufficent) psu. The best efficency is typically near full load. A half loaded psu will be much less efficent that a mostly loaded psu. Just look at the efficency curves and where they are rated at. Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Just look at the efficency curves and where they are rated at
    Where can I get these efficency curves?
    Reply

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