Price Guides, October 2005: Video Cardsby Anand Lal Shimpi & Howard Johnston on October 1, 2005 5:54 PM EST
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Welcome to another edition of our Video Card price guide! This week we continue to see prices drop as we transition from summer to fall. The 7800 GTs are showing up at retailers readily now and have made a nice niche for themselves in the "lower" Ultra High End segment.
This week we also saw lots of action on the ATI front. Anand gave us a preview of ATI's new Avivo platform which integrates H.264 decoding and transcoding on the upcoming R5xx GPUs; Kristopher gave us the low down on the R520, RV530 and RV515 GPUs; and Josh showed us what ATI's new mid-range lineup can do.
Please also feel free to check out our Real Time Price Engine so you can get the latest pricing information on any products we mention. We've added a daily segment to the price engine previewing our picks for the upcoming Price Guides! Check there for new deals each day!
Ultra High End Graphics
If you're the kind of person who asks why someone would pay $500+ for a video card, then you may want to skip this section. The Ultra High End segment is for the gaming fanatic looking to get the absolute best performance at the highest resolutions - and seemingly with total disregard for price. However, even those with deep pockets should feel relieved as prices on these cards have dropped significantly since their introduction. NVIDIA's 7800GTX continues to drop in price each week:
The LeadTek GeForce 7800GTX 256MB [RTPE: PX7800GTX] is once again our price leader this week at $465.00 (down $30). These cards are PCIe-only for now and we still highly recommend switching to a PCIe solution if you're looking to spend top dollar on a video card as the AGP spec is nearing end-of-life.
For the best "value" in this segment we would recommend the 7800GT. Since our last guide we've seen the prices of these cards drop nearly $50 across the board:
The eVGA GeForce 7800GT 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N518] is selling for $351.00 now.
The price of the 6800 Ultra line of cards has risen quite a bit now that the 7800GTs are out in full force. We certainly can't recommend this card over a 7800 series any longer. SLI configurations of the 6800 series are the worst performs (unless you have an existing card already). It's cheaper to buy a 7800 series card with higher performance than an SLI 6800 Ultra setup.
With the R520 series GPU coming right around the corner *cough*Wednesday*cough*, we're a little reluctant to recommend an ATI Radeon X850XT at this time. Once the X1800 series starts to ship, expect retails to want to clear out their stock of X850XTs. One notable good deal this week is the Connect3D Radeon X850XT PE 256MB which can be found for just $320:
Our vendors tell us that the initial R520 shipments will be somewhat low volume, even if they do ship on the launch date. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of the AIBs are still working on their designs.