For those looking for a decent high end card, your best option is still going to be a X800XL. Although unlike from our last price guide, the AGP version has gone up in price about $30. The cheapest one we're seeing this week is the ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB [RTPE: 100-435508] for $278.00.

Those of you who were fortunate enough to upgrade to a PCI-E board are in luck today. The Connect3D Radeon X800XL 256MB [RTPE: 3028C] is on sale for $130.00 (after MIR -- to qualify for the $100 MIR, you must purchase a second CrossFire edition graphics card). However - if you are set on going ATI, make sure to check out our info with regard to the Connect3D X800GTO and the Sapphire X800GTO^2 on the next page.

The AGP version of the ATI X800XT 256MB All-In-Wonder [RTPE: 100-714200] is at an awesome price of $280.00 (after MIR); about a reduction of $7.00 off of its original price of $300.00 (before MIR). ATI is known for it's fantastic A-I-W cards, so if you're looking for such a creature, this may be a deal for you. However, we suggest that if you're looking for a more permanent solution, you should look into a separate PCI TV tuner card. With the relatively low cost of upgrading a tuner, and their relative longevity in terms of product cycle, an A-I-W card only makes sense if you really enjoy some of the more unique features rather than just straight hardware tuner support. By the way, don't forget that ATI has a new A-I-W launch in the next week.

For about $240, the ASUS GeForce 6800GT 256MB (PCI-E) [RTPE: EN6800GT/2DT/256] is a super deal which has seen a price decrease of approximately $97; definitely something to consider. If you're looking to go with a SLI setup, we would recommend you look into the eVGA 7800GT we recommended on the previous page. For $140 less than two 6800GTs, you'd be able to get roughly equal performance to slightly better performance. At about the same price, a single 7800GTX will usually outperform SLI'ed 6800GTs and you have the future option of SLI.

With all the competitive deals right now on the ultra high end and the mid range, it makes almost no sense to buy a card in this range right now!

Index Mid Range Graphics
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  • jcsamp - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    <$50: Crap.
    $50-$100: Almost acceptable
    $100-$150: Mainstream
    $150-$250: High-end
    $250-$350: Too expensive
    >$350: I'd rather buy an Xbox 360

    Unfortunately the only place where the big 2 seem to agree with me are in the lowest price brackets. More unfortunately, most users don't agree with me either and think it is just fine to go out and plop down $350 for a video card, regardless of how great it is, thus validating the card companies' outlandish prices. Stop buying those expensive cards so I can actually afford one :)
    Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Most consumers are sheep and the companies are marketing to them at full tilt.

    If they want to be fiscally foolish that's their problem. I'll stay satisfied with my 17" LCD and gaming at 1024x while they put themselves into debt trying to maintain solid fps at 1600x with decent looking graphical settings.

    I'm not going to give in to a retarded price model offered because others are willing to take whatever is put out for them the moment it's put there without the patience to wait for the items to drop down to a reasonable price like an educated consumer would.

    If no one bought cards at outrageous prices the providers wouldn't be able to offer them at that pricing because they would be wasting their time. They instead would have to offer them starting at a more reasonable price to get the same sales volume they can currently get at rip-off prices.

    So the people to really be sarcastically thanking or to be disappointed in are the ones buying cards at those prices without a care for rationality.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Considering the "mid-range" graphic options can barely power 1024x with decent graphical settings in the latest games, this market is truly jacked up as far as pricing goes. Reply
  • jcsamp - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    The guide seems to skip straight from 6600GT/X700 to 6200TC/X300, leaving out all those cards in between. Specifically I would have liked to see some pricing on those updated cards like the 6600 DDR2. I know there's not many producers (XFX is the only one that comes to mind), and even fewer vendors right now, but I would have liked to see some pricing data on these cards as well, since the MSRP is so low, and the performance is almost at the 6600GT level. Reply
  • johnsonx - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    I'm not sure ~$350.00 X1800XL and 7800GT cards qualify as Ultra High-End cards in the same category with $500-and-up XT and GTX cards. Particularly when there are cards in the 'regular' high-end costing far more. Those XL and GT cards are pretty mainstream high-end I think.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Most readers would put the $350 and up price as high end, but we're also considering performance. The X1800XL and 7800GT are quite a bit faster than the best "high end" cards. We also make it pretty clear that spending $250 to $300 right now is probably not a great idea, due to the better deals in the mid-range and ultra-range cards. (See bold text at the bottom of page 2.) Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Something I've been thinking of asking the reviewers here is whether they could do a plot of price vs. performance (measured in 3Dmark05's or various things), for each of the graphics cards in ATI and NVidia's ranges. I imagine it would end up looking a bit like a "battlefield" with red and green each trying to get below each others price/performance curve. It would also make it visually really easy to see what card is where. Just a thought, anyway. I think it would be a cool thing. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    I think that would be a good idea as it would show at which point across the performance spectrum you get the best value. In other words, where you start paying a lot more for relatively small returns, and also how the low-end and mid-range value-for-money compares.

    I wouldn;t use 3DMark05 though; instead a weighted-average of actual game results, though with a proper selection of games and not the FPS only games that AT uses.
    Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Actually I was thinking just display several graphs - perhaps not as elegant, but at least it would show that which card is best depends on what you use it for. Reply
  • mjh - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    I have noticed that heat isn't an issue with the unlocked Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO2 card. Reply

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