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


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  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: We have a roundup scheduled for the very near future (days at most perhaps). From what I could gather from our internal conferences, nForce4 (Ultra and SLI) had several hiccups - but not showstoppers. With the proximity of the analysis, I'll let Wes go into more detail in his review.

  • bobsmith1492 - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Maybe because the xbox runs at like 640x800 resolution, and this hardware can run it at 4 times that resolution with AA and AF and the xbox is a mass-produced group of identical objects that makes it easy to progam for..... :P Reply
  • ShizNet - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    how the f**k is it possible?
    xBox runs M$ OS and PC hardWare (including vidCard) and able to play new games just fine AND for only ~$200
    where the same game for PC takes extra year to reWrite (i wonder why) and hardWare demands are about $2000 more - just to be able to play the same game??? can you say - we are giving run arounds here? CPU for $400+, memory for $300+, vidCard for $500+.. and ++

    what we'd read if there'd be no need for new vidCards every 6 mo.? silver arctic paste review?
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Please Kristopher, say more or tell us when the article that reveals the problems is due to be published. I'm one of those who is waiting for E revision A64 before jumping on the nForce4 bandwagon, and I'm glad I did if there are problems with the chipset.

    I never intend to use SLI though as I know it is more cost effective overall to sell the first card and buy a second-hand replacement instead of another duplicate card.

    Are the problems limited to nVidia's nForce4 SLI implementation (which would be odd as you say Intel's Turnwater is fine, and nVidia created SLI), or something more fundamentally wrong with the PCIe implementation?

    We need this information as a lot of AT readers are buying nF4 SLI boards every day and will be seriously upset if you have delayed information about a problem.
  • KristopherKubicki - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Live pretty much answered everything for me. nForce4 beware for now.

  • joeld - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    yeah, where are the high end nvidia cards? Reply
  • Regs - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    I would also like to know the issues with SLI on motherboards. Since everybody on the message board has been recommending or has all ready purchased a SLI set up, I think it would be of great importance to explain what you guys have uncovered.

    And I really like that you guys down with the Real-Time pricing engine. It's one powerful piece of programming ingenuity.
  • Live - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    Very nice guide! Keep up the good work. I did miss the 6800 U in the high end AGP tough. Or is it unavailable? I would hope to see a strong stand against paper launches in the next video preview (Hello agp from ATI?) Nivida and ATI are doing a poor job right now.

    #5 considering it was hinted that AnandTech were supposed to have published there SLI roundup this week I would guess they have uncovered issues in those creepy underground labs they call home. SLI only works on a few games and if you play an unsupported game you take a performance hit and a huge financial hit considering you played for 2 cards and get less performance then one.

    #3 I am pretty sure it is supposed to be the 6800GT.
  • PrinceGaz - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    #3- I think it's supposed to say 6800GT, not 6600GT :) Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Saturday, February 19, 2005 - link

    What exactly did you mean by:

    "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."

    I'm not aware of any issues.

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