The Card, Specs and Test

Our Radeon X800 GT happens to be made by PowerColor, and looks about the same as other X800's with the exception of the sticker on the heatsink. As we've mentioned in the past, however, it's not the looks, but the performance that makes a good part. Let's talk about the card specifications.

The X800 GT is kind of the compromise between the high end of ATI's X700 and low end of their X800 series. Specifically, it has the same number of pixel pipelines as the X700, but it has the memory bandwidth of the X800 Pro. We find this to be an interesting approach to bridging the gap between the X700 and X800, and are curious to see what kinds of performance we see. Here is a table comparing a few of the parts that we'll be testing.

 Card Comparison
 -  Pixel Pipelines  Vertex Pipelines  Core Clock  Memory Clock  Price
Radeon X800 GT: 8 6 470MHz 495MHz $160
Radeon X800: 12 6 390MHz 350MHz $200
GeForce 6600 GT: 8 3 500MHz 500MHz $160

We will also be testing the GeForce 6800 ($200) and the Radeon X800 XT ($325) to give us a better performance comparison. We chose these cards to test based on their relative closeness in price and performance. The Radeon X800 XT is an exception with its higher price, and it is included here for reference. The X800 XT will obviously dominate here in framerate except in tests which are severely CPU-limited (i.e. Unreal Tournament), as it represents much higher performance in graphics cards.

Note that the X800 GT, X800, 6800, and X800 XT all have a 256 bit memory bus, while the 6600 GT only has a 128 bit memory bus. This will theoretically give the X800 GT an edge over the 6600 GT in tests with higher resolutions and anti-aliasing enabled. Conversely, the X800 GT can't process as many pixels per clock due to its slower core clock (and lack of certain features like SM3.0), so games that require more processing power should do worse on the X800 GT than on the 6600 GT. This means that they basically compromise by giving us more of one thing and less of another in order to compete with the 6600 GT.

Here is the system configuration that we used in our tests:

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 Processor
2x512MB OCZ 2-2-2-6 1T DDR400 RAM
Seagate 7200.7 120 GB Hard Drive
OCZ 600 W PowerStream Power Supply

Index Battlefield 2 Performance
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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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