Welcome to another edition of our Video Card price guide! This week we continue to see prices drop as we transition from summer to fall. The 7800 GTs are showing up at retailers readily now and have made a nice niche for themselves in the "lower" Ultra High End segment.

This week we also saw lots of action on the ATI front. Anand gave us a preview of ATI's new Avivo platform which integrates H.264 decoding and transcoding on the upcoming R5xx GPUs; Kristopher gave us the low down on the R520, RV530 and RV515 GPUs; and Josh showed us what ATI's new mid-range lineup can do.

Please also feel free to check out our Real Time Price Engine so you can get the latest pricing information on any products we mention. We've added a daily segment to the price engine previewing our picks for the upcoming Price Guides! Check there for new deals each day!

Ultra High End Graphics

If you're the kind of person who asks why someone would pay $500+ for a video card, then you may want to skip this section. The Ultra High End segment is for the gaming fanatic looking to get the absolute best performance at the highest resolutions - and seemingly with total disregard for price. However, even those with deep pockets should feel relieved as prices on these cards have dropped significantly since their introduction. NVIDIA's 7800GTX continues to drop in price each week:

eVGA GeForce 7800GTX 256MB

The LeadTek GeForce 7800GTX 256MB [RTPE: PX7800GTX] is once again our price leader this week at $465.00 (down $30). These cards are PCIe-only for now and we still highly recommend switching to a PCIe solution if you're looking to spend top dollar on a video card as the AGP spec is nearing end-of-life.

For the best "value" in this segment we would recommend the 7800GT. Since our last guide we've seen the prices of these cards drop nearly $50 across the board:

eVGA GeForce 7800GT 256MB

The eVGA GeForce 7800GT 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N518] is selling for $351.00 now.

The price of the 6800 Ultra line of cards has risen quite a bit now that the 7800GTs are out in full force. We certainly can't recommend this card over a 7800 series any longer. SLI configurations of the 6800 series are the worst performs (unless you have an existing card already). It's cheaper to buy a 7800 series card with higher performance than an SLI 6800 Ultra setup.

With the R520 series GPU coming right around the corner *cough*Wednesday*cough*, we're a little reluctant to recommend an ATI Radeon X850XT at this time. Once the X1800 series starts to ship, expect retails to want to clear out their stock of X850XTs. One notable good deal this week is the Connect3D Radeon X850XT PE 256MB which can be found for just $320:

Connect3D Radeon X850XT PE 256MB

Our vendors tell us that the initial R520 shipments will be somewhat low volume, even if they do ship on the launch date. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of the AIBs are still working on their designs.

High End Graphics
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  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, October 4, 2005 - link


    With the launch of the 7800GT, the plain 6800 series cards are dropping to around $200 as well. Choosing between the 6600GT and 6800 can be difficult. The main difference is that the 6800 features a 256-bit memory interface.

    And the fact that the 6800 has twelve pipelines and the 6600GT has only eight isn't a main difference?
  • yacoub - Monday, October 3, 2005 - link


    This card features the R480 core with all 16 pixel pipes enabled for a price of around $220!

    That's better than spending $30 more and getting an X800XL how exactly?
  • yacoub - Monday, October 3, 2005 - link

    *Is the R480 core in any way better than the core of the X800XL?
    *What is the difference in RAM latency and clock between this card and an ATI X800XL?
    *Are you really getting 95% of the performance of an X800XL for only $30 less, or are you better off paying the extra $30 to get the X800XL?
  • zemane - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    On page 1, the RTPE link for LeadTek GeForce 7800GTX 256MB takes to eVGA GeForce 7800GT 256MB, instead.
  • islandtechengineers - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    im not making millions yet.... i feel like every 3 months i'll have to dish out around 500 for a newer card.... $2000 a year in video cards anyone?
  • qquizz - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    lol, write it off as a business expense!
  • phaxmohdem - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    $2000 a year in video cards = you need a money management class :P or enroll at a gamer rehabilitation center. haha

    Lets see:
    Geforce4 Ti4600 = $300.........2002
    Radeon 9800PRO AIW = $250......2004
    Radeon X800XL = $350...........2005

    So $900 over 4 years = $225/yr on video cards.... Looks like I need to kick it up a notch :)
  • xsilver - Monday, October 3, 2005 - link

    i think he's refferring to if you made the huge mistake of:
    6800gt ultra AGP
    6800gt ultra SLI PCI-E
    7800gtx SLI
    all in close to 12 months

    actually I think thats more than $2k there

    and if you were really stupid, you could have bought yourself 2x 6600gt's too when the first 6800ultras were in very low supply (just to try out SLI, why? i dont know) -- there are people on the forums that have done this...
  • SuperFubario - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    My 7800Gt is coming tuesday....upgrading from a 4400TI. Like day and night boyyyy! Good time to pick one up as the price is just falling.
  • Brian23 - Sunday, October 2, 2005 - link

    I could use a new card. Still running my GeForce 3 Ti450. However, with new cards just around the corner, I'm going to wait until spring semmester is over and just upgrade the whole PC instead. I'll get an X2, 19" LCD, fast PCIe card... I cant wait!

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