PCIe High End Range

As promised, ATI's X800, X850XT and X800XL are here, albeit a little later than we had all expected. Hopefully, you have had the opportunity to read our introduction of the X800/X850 back in December as well as the X800XL follow up a few weeks later. The X800XL caught our interest as one of the strong price/performance cards, given its $299 estimated MSRP. Unfortunately, instead of a $299 GeForce 6800GT competitor, we have a $369 GeForce 6800GT competitor instead. Granted, almost everywhere we look, the Radeon X800XL [RTPE: Radeon X800XL] is very competitive with the GeForce 6800GT [RTPE: GeForce 6800GT]; and that's based on the fact that you can find the PCIe version of the 6800GT. For months, system builders were given priority from NVIDIA channel distributors over retail vendors, and we are just starting to see consistent availability now.

Prices are falling rapidly on the X800XL, and we will probably have a better feel for the market in the next couple of weeks. If the card stabilizes just under the GeForce 6800GT, we would be crushed, but at the rate that prices are dropping, it might do much better than that.

Even with the fact in mind that prices are still falling, the X800XL claims our top pick for this week's high end purchase. The Sapphire Radeon X800XL [RTPE: 100105] and the PowerColor X800XL [RTPE: R43C-TVD3D] are within a few dollars of each other, and you should be very pleased with either one of them.

Crossing the threshold from High End to Insanity, the X850XT began showing up at select merchants about two weeks ago. The best available pricing still puts the card in the mid $500 range, which is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a video card.

You'll notice that we deliberately did not weigh SLI very high in this week's high end pick. With issues on nForce4 starting to surface, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now to throw all of your eggs into the SLI basket. Tumwater SLI support seems fine - but if you are an enthusiast willing to spend thousands of dollars on a high end workstation, you probably aren't running an Intel based system anyway. SLI is a nice, possible upgrade bonus if you already intend to purchase a 6600GT or a 6800GT, but we don't recommend investing in an SLI setup until some of the more mature motherboards and chipsets hit the retail market.

Index AGP High End


View All Comments

  • bigpow - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    Wait a sec.

    [quote]XFX dominates the 6600GT AGP landscape, and without a doubt, the card [RTPE: PVT43AND] remains our AGP mid-range pick.

    I thought AT recommended Leadtek 6600GT PCI-E on a previous comparison test?

    Which one is it? XFX or Leadtek?
  • ShizNet - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    AGAIN - all details are behind us (quality/image/expandability)

    what is reason to purchase $400+ vidCard? one reason - to play GAMES (pc) - you don't need this beast for e-mail
    OR you can buy xCube/gStatioin/pBox (any puns are welcome) - pay same ~$50 for same game
    AND get same pleasures out of building/shooting/conquering

    going back to the start:
    does all this HardWare advances are OVERRATED? - because they won't last for a year

    i won't even touch HERE what you can do w/ lil mod to those xStations/pBoxes
    and i am NOT a fan of M$ or Sony, just a fan of story: 'little train that could'
  • semo - Sunday, February 20, 2005 - link

    doom 3 is not playable on p4 1.8 with a radeon 7500
    have to get a geforce ti i guess
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    ShizNet: I would first look at who is taking a year to rewrite games from console to PC. Obviously MS has a vested interest in keeping Halo on the XBOX before putting it on PC. It's not that its fundamentally really hard to do, but my guess is it's licensing and politicking that keep releases on the console.

    As for the hardware argument - given the same PC hardware I would not be surprised if many of thsoe same games look/feel identical. I think your argument is moot because 1.) CounterStrike is definitely not a benchmark of performance/quality for PC or XBOX and 2.) San Andreas will hit PC and XBOX at the same time. And I bet you it'll continue to look better on the PC anyway. I really haven't seen a single title on XBOX that was better than the same title on PC with the exception of the purposely crippled Halo.

  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Actually Doom3 is playable in a Pentium 4 1.5GHz with a GeForce MX 400.

    You can't have both an outdated PC and good quality image settings, you gotta pick one.
  • ShizNet - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    i'm not arguing here the quality of the image or the way the business runs (at loss or gain)
    LOOK deep into issue on hand - xBox (hardWare/softWare) is 2 yr-old and it still can 'catch up' w/ brandNew-hingEnd PCs. try to run 2 yr-old pc -- HL2 @ ~20 fps and doom3 @ ~10 (if at all)
    while xBox chopping away @ Halo, CS, not to mention SanAndreas and others
    don't you think there is someThing wrong with this picture?
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: Many (most?) new Xbox games have 1080i or 720p capability.

    But yeah, the XBOX is sold on a loss just for people to buy games. And believe me even on HD, games on my XBOX look like garbage compared to my PC :)

  • ShizNet - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    is it your answer? or is it your 'MAYBE'?
    do you even know how code is written? first you write the way it should be, then you 'optimize' it to hardware (of your choice ati/nVidia/other)
    so you telling me it's easier to write for 2 yr-old nVidia (dx 8.x) than for dx 9.x APIs? there are no lowLevel coding in vidGames anyMore. if you haven't heard games are based on engines (APIs): doom, source (halfLife2)... same s**t for console or pc.. and drivers are provided/adjusted by ati/nvidia, not the other way around
    with your idea about 640x480 - plug your HIGH-end pc card in the same TV and see the quality of image and tell me about AA/AF
    go put that P from your - :P - where it should be
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    The X-Box normally runs at 640x480, which is all a standard TV set can take (and may be slightly blurry at such a "high" resolution if it isn't a good quality TV).

    As with all consoles though, the reason why the X-Box is cheap is really because it was sold for less than the manufacturing cost, as the real money is made from consoles with game sales and every X-Box game sold netted Microsoft a good few dollars.
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    sorry for the off-topic, but did AnandTech also test K8T890 boards? So far only two are available (from ASUS and Soltek), but from what I gathered the ABIT, Gigabyte and Albatron boards should be out real soon.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now