Final Words

These two new offerings work well to push the top end and drop into the top of the mid-range market. The 6800 Ultra Extreme will probably be out of reach, price and availability wise, for most of us. But, for those hard core gamers out there, both the Platinum Edition and the Ultra Extreme look very good depending on what kind of games are going to be pushed most often through the framebuffer.

The 6800 GT leads the X800 Pro in value more often than not. Of course, the small price difference in the market might not be much now, but honestly the GT and Pro are very comparable parts. The decision is a hard one to make. Our graphs show it, and our recommendation for the moment reflects it: when performance is on par, go with the cheaper hardware. NV40 has the added bonus of Vertex and Pixel Shader 3.0 support (already shown to help make a difference in FarCry performance) and with floating point frame buffers (which could help provide some very cool blending and HDR effects if developers support it). When everything is said and done, the 6800 GT gets our recommendation despite the close performance.

The GeForce 6800, while not the most impressive performer that we've seen, certainly improves on the performance of the 5950 Ultra and 9800 XT with a much lower cost than both. Unless an application that requires 256MBs of video RAM is key in the decision-making process, the 6800 is a better choice right now than the former top-of-the-line cards, even at their reduced prices. This price point should get even more interesting when ATI's $300 offering hits the streets.

As new technology trickles down through the mid-range and budget markets, consumers who don't care about graphics will be armed with some relatively nice hardware. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what hits at the $200 price point.

For those in the market for a card now, we will continue to try and provide the best information possible. Soon, we'll be taking a hard look at individual vendors cards. We'll be looking at things such as cooling, noise, and overclockability.

The best advice that we can give right now is to pick your card based on the games that you enjoy the most. No matter what ends up happening, there won't be any reason to be disappointed when deciding between ATI and NVIDIA this time around. It really does come down to the value of a particular card with respect to the games that any particular person plays.

Price/Performance Analysis


View All Comments

  • Shinei - Friday, July 9, 2004 - link

    Definitely interesting to see the 6800NU's performance numbers... I almost want to say that the 6800 will be the DX9-generation's Ti4200. Not that that'll stop me from getting a 6800GT or a 6800U to replace my 4200, mind you. :p
    Anyway, I like the inclusion of the "value" graphs as part of the benchmark results, it makes it easier to see what card gives you the best bang (in the case of these latest cards, a boom?) for your buck. And as always, AT puts out the quality benchmarks that I recommend so highly to everyone.
  • Mithan - Friday, July 9, 2004 - link

    I think the best "value" card out right now is the 6800 GT. Reply
  • sparkz - Friday, July 9, 2004 - link

    What kind of monitors were used and also what type of connection was used for testing at 16x12? (DVI or VGA) Reply
  • ViRGE - Friday, July 9, 2004 - link

    SilentRunning, they aren't using the MSRP, they're using the actual market price. Reply
  • Neekotin - Friday, July 9, 2004 - link

    well i got myself an x800 xt already (pulled a lot of strings...), nice article anyway.. wished you included overclocked numbers, hardcore types do it anyway. i had mine liquid cooled to 620/600... blazing! hehehe Reply
  • SilentRunning - Friday, July 9, 2004 - link

    [q]ATI Radeon 9700 Pro: $180
    ATI Radeon 9800 XT: $400
    ATI Radeon X800 Pro: $420
    ATI Radeon X800 XT: $540
    ATI Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition: $600[/q]

    Obviously you need to re-evaluate how you obtain prices. Since ATI's SRP (suggested retail prices) are lower. Those prices are from dealers who are price gouging due to demand.

    ATI Radeon X800 Pro: $399 SRP
    ATI Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition: $499 SRP

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