High-End Graphics

Besides the fact that most of these cards are really overpriced, there really isn't much else to say about these high-end cards. For the best price/performance, we recommend you take a look at the mid-range or ultra high-end cards. For the amount you would be paying here, you would be better off going with an ultra high-end card. Still, let's take a look at what we have available.

Here we have the GeForce 7800GS cards that come only in AGP form. There is a great selection of these cards available, but the best price we can bring you as of today is the eVGA GeForce 7800GS CO 256MB [RTPE: 256-A8-N506-AX] for $280 shipped, with a $15 mail-in rebate knocking the price down to a total of $265. As you skim through the rest of the chart, you will notice that there are many cards available for under the $300 price tag. Competing with the X850 XTPE, the 7800GS does an excellent job at filling out the top of the NVIDIA AGP performance spectrum. It is slightly underpowered compared to the X850 XTPE AGP, but the 7800GS is priced about $120 less. Honestly, we have to say that you're better off upgrading to a PCI-E motherboard and graphics card for an extra $100, but it's far easier to change graphics cards than to swap out an entire motherboard.

ATI's X850 line is rather interesting, as it performs better than the X800 line and is currently priced lower. The AGP cards are still pretty expensive, but the Sapphire Radeon X850XT 256MB [RTPE: 100106] priced at $165 is actually more of a midrange price with high-end performance. This is about the only "high-end" card that we would seriously recommend right now, and how long it stays in stock at this price is anyone's guess. Also note that CrossFire X850 cards are relatively expensive, and R400 CrossFire really wasn't a very elegant solution. We recommend you stick with single X850 cards if you plan on purchasing one.

It isn't really much of a deal, but the Gigabyte Radeon X800XL 512MB [RTPE: GV-RX80L512DE] is somewhat interesting, currently priced at about $200. (Ooooh! 512 MEGA-bytes!) Still, there's no point in getting this over one of the similarly priced X850 XT cards. The X800XT cards are also overpriced. For the price of these X800XT cards, you can easily purchase a 7900 GT or even something faster. Really, these cards are on the way out, and basically we're just seeing the last few remnants being sold.

What can we say that we haven't said before? Skip these cards over and head on to the ultra high-end cards if you're looking to spend anywhere near the amount these 6800GTs are going for. (And don't even think about the 6800 Ultra cards!) Alternatively, check out the next page for our mid-range batch of cards. Several of them will at least match performance of the 6800 GT, but do it at a lower price.

Ultra High-End Graphics Mid-Range Graphics
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  • PMPopic - Saturday, June 03, 2006 - link

    Hello all,
    Do any of these cards support either of the two new high definition standards(i.e. blue ray)? My understanding is that there are no cards or LCD monitors out now that support this do to the HDCP copy protection. When will we see cards and monitors that support this?
    Reply
  • Trisped - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 - link

    The guide was concise and well worded (as price guides usually are)
    Keep up the good work.
    Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Monday, May 29, 2006 - link

    I didn't take the time to re-read the last few video guides, but I seem to remember them not being as good as this one. I agree with most of your picks, and I do appreciate you including every possible card. I only have two changes I would make.

    First of all, it's time to move the X800/X850s and the 6800s to mid-range, where they compete in terms of performance. Then move the 7900GTs and X1800XT/XL and X1900GTO to high-end, if you still want to have four sections. None of us reading this guide really considers the 6800GT high-end anymore, not the X1800XL Ultra-high-end. I know Anandtech readers are more hard-core than the general Best Buy shopper, but that's who is reading the article anyways.

    Second, when you inevitably move the previous generation cards out of the high-end section, you need to directly compare them to the cards that cost the same amount of money. We all know that buying a $500 6800-Ultra is a terrible deal, heck even buying a 7800GTX is a terrible deal. Those cards were replaced by faster cards but didn't drop in price, so it's an easy call. The $160 X850XT is NOT an easy call. I am under the impression that while giving up SM3 support, it is probably faster overall than the current generation cards at the $160 price point, but I don't know for sure since it isn't normally included in reviews of modern games anymore, and the new cards don't normally get reviewed under the older games I can look up X850XT scores for. I think a direct comparison between last-gen and present-gen cards is warranted when the older cards have actually dropped considerably in price to match the prices of their current-gen performance equivalents.
    Reply
  • AGAC - Monday, May 29, 2006 - link

    My system was upgraded about one and half year ago and it´s going to remain as it is since the video subsystem is not just about framerates. Thanks to DRM schemes of tomorrow, no video card of today can legaly playback HD content. So, it´s a waiting game for me.

    BTW, does anyone knows about those phony claims made by ATI regarding HDCP compliant video cards?

    And I am not talking about HDMI on video cards. As far as I know, DVI can be HDCP compliant, so that is not much of a chalenge in terms of R&D.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 29, 2006 - link

    You need an HDCP chip on the card, and while it is possible, no one has done it yet with ATI chips (AFAIK). They are "HDCP compatible" but not "HDCP enabled". :| Reply
  • lafchiev - Monday, May 29, 2006 - link

    "Previous tests showed that NVIDIA's budget cards were slightly faster than ATI's budget cards, but mostly it's a non-issue. "
    I thought that X1300 was ever more powrfull than the 7300 or 6200 ones.
    Let see in the Anand review from 20 february:
    Battlefield2 performance 1024x768:
    X1300:24.2 fps
    NV7300GS: 18.2 fps

    Half Life 2 performance 1024x768:
    X1300:27.2 fps
    NV7300GS: 23.8 fps

    Quake 4 performance 1024x768:
    X1300:30 fps
    NV7300GS: 25.6 fps

    Overall NV7300GS is MUCH less performant than X1300
    and this changes everything in the budget cards comparison.
    Hi
    Ico
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 29, 2006 - link

    I was thinking X300 vs. 6200 - I'll clarify that. X1300 is still pitifully slow for gaming (as is the 7300). Reply
  • tential2 - Sunday, May 28, 2006 - link

    I am not sure but I cant seem to find any decent review on this website on the 7600GT and 6600GT. They are closely priced but as you said in the article the 6600T was a very popular card. As a result I am not sure whether to buy another 6600GT and try and go SLI or buy a 7600GT. Which gives more performance? I found a few benches but many of them showed SLI giving no performance benefits. I was wondering what the benefits of SLI 6600GT are over the 7600GT. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 29, 2006 - link

    7600 GT is generally a bit faster than 6800 GS/GT, so if you have benches of 6600GT SLI vs. 6800 GT you can draw some conclusions. If it were me, I'd take 7600 GT over 6600 GT SLI in a heartbeat. Two cards is a high-end option only, IMO. Don't bother with SLI until you're at least looking at 7900 GT. Reply
  • tential2 - Monday, June 05, 2006 - link

    It still would be nice to have a review on it. Also on Crossfire since I have seen nothing on upgrading with crossfire. It would be nice to buy a x1600XT knowing I could buy a later ATI card at anytime and run crossfire. It seems that has been largely neglected by reviewers and just people in genreal. I'm not even sure if Crossfire supports different cards anymore actually. Reply

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