Price Guide, January 2006: Video Cardsby Haider Farhan on January 9, 2006 1:49 PM EST
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We would like to welcome you to once again another weekly edition of our infamous price guides. This week we are looking at ultra high-end cards all the way down to low-end video cards. As we do with all our other price guides, we would like to remind you to check out our handy RTPE for up-to-the-minute prices and rebates on all of the products you're looking into purchasing, including video cards. Don't forget that you can now search the RTPE by entering a UPC code, which makes finding products you're looking for faster and easier. It also notifies you of the percentage of tax that may be applicable based on which state you live in and how much the component costs (note that if you're going through a corporate firewall, the state may be incorrect).
The GeForce 7800GT cards appear to give the best bang for the buck this week and the X1800XL's are not far behind. We're also noticing that the X800XT cards are slowly diminishing from the market, while the X800GTO/ GTO2 and the 6800 GS are still great mid-range options. By the way, purchasing a single high-end card and hoping to purchase another one for an SLI setup down along the line is a bad idea. We suggest either going with a single higher performing card or two cards for SLI right off the bat.
We'd like to begin this week's guide with the ultra high-end cards...and we're off!
Ultra High-End Graphics
At the moment, you can easily find a 7800GT going for about $300. We're seeing the eVGA GeForce 7800GT 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N515] on sale for $300, minus a $20 mail-in rebate (MIR), bringing the total price down to $280 (excluding shipping). Please be aware that this $20 MIR is valid until January 31st. We're also noticing that eVGA has been including a free copy of Quake 4 with a small selection of their 7800GT cards. For instance, you can submit your information to eVGA for your free copy of Quake 4 if you purchase the eVGA GeForce 7800GT CO SE 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N516] going for $300. For more details on this promotion, check out eVGA's information page.
The best price we are seeing this week on a 7800GTX is $460.00. Both the eVGA GeForce 7800GTX ACS3 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N527] and the eVGA GeForce 7800GTX EGS 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N525] are going for this price. The only difference we're noticing between the two is that the ACS3 variant comes with the core clocked at 470MHz while the EGS variant comes with the core clocked at 450MHz.
Because the 512MB 7800 video cards are on pre-order, they will not be generated into the pricing table below. Nevertheless, our RTPE is picking up on five variants which is an increase over the only card we saw from BFG in our last guide.
Do take notice that each card comes with a different bundle than any other. Some may include a number of games, DVD playback software, video editing software and different sets of cables and dongles. The point here is for you to choose the bundle that will best suit you and your interests.
Generally offering slightly less performance than the 7800GT, the best deal we can find this week on an X1800XL with 256MB of RAM is from Connect3D [RTPE: Connect3D 3039] which is decently priced at $329. The pricing of the X1800XL cards have improved since our last guide as the 7800GT was able to perform a bit better than the X1800XL, while also offering a lower price of about $310 (at the time). At the moment, we suggest going with the 7800GT which offers slightly better performance at a lower cost. Our RTPE is also picking up on the ATI Radeon X1800XL 256MB A-I-W [RTPE: 100-714400] on sale for $380.
While all of the 512MB 7800GTX NVIDIA cards are on pre-order, many of the 512MB X1800XT cards, including a single 256MB X1800 CrossFire, are available for sale. This time around, the X1800XT cards generally offer better price/performance than the 7800GTX - this is especially true given that 7800 GTX 512MB cards are almost impossible to find. The cheapest 512MB X1800XT we are seeing is from Sapphire [RTPE: 100134], on sale for $487. The 256MB X1800 CrossFire (built by ATI) is going for $564.
Here we are at the 6800 Ultra cards...and we can't see why anyone would even consider buying one of these at such insane prices. The cheapest 6800 Ultra is going for more than what a 7800GTX would run you! So if you're in the market for an ultra high-end card, we suggest completely overlooking these 6800 Ultra's and considering either ATI or NVIDIA's newest generation of cards.