ATI Radeon X800 XL

This is probably the most interesting and oddly priced part we've taken a look at today. At a $350 MSRP, we need to compare it to $399 and $299 parts. Since it's a 16 pipeline part with 256MB of RAM and a 1GHz memory data rate, we can expect some very good numbers on this card, even at lower core clock speeds. The width of the architecture really helps when scaling down.

Performing as good or better than a part that's $50 more expensive in every test we run is quite an acheivement. Yes, the the X850 Pro has a 30% higher core clock speed, but the 30% increase in pixel pipelines from 12 to 16 negates that. Eventhough the X850 Pro has a little more memory bandwidth, the fact that the X800 XL is wider give is the advantage in parallelism. The X800 XL is just a better card than the X850 Pro, especially at the $349 price point ATI is shooting for.

Clearly the X800 XL is worth the added $100 investment over the vanilla X800 if it's in the budget. In every game we tested but UT2K4 the difference was larger than 24%, and could even mean playability under Doom 3 or Farcry under high stress conditions.

At a $350 price point, the X800 XL stacks up to be a very nice part. Unfortunately for ATI, it also elimiates their own current $400 incarnation of the X850 Pro as a viable entity. We find it very hard to believe that ATI would release a $350 card that would outperform a $400 card they just released a few weeks earlier so either, the clock speeds of the X800 XL and/or X850 Pro will dramatically change between now and when they are actually available, or the X800 XL and X850 Pro will be priced differently than what we've been told.

There's a quick evaluation of ATI's new lineup, but if you want to see all cards compared side by side, here you go...

ATI Radeon X800 Half Life 2
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  • dripgoss - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    "pricing for the "high end" cards is utterly ridiculous..."

    The rules of supply and demand are in full effect here. When the card companies see people selling X800XTPE's and 6800U's on ebay for $600-$800, they feel justified MSRPing at $500+. Basically, they do it because they can!

    What I'd like to see is one of the companies take the initiative and release a high end card at $300 (and have the supply to back up the launch). That'll make the other gpu companies scramble. But I doubt that'll happen any time soon since they're all just riding high on the hog right now...
    Reply
  • MadAd - Monday, December 6, 2004 - link

    1920x1200 GAMING BENCHES PLEASE! :¬) Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    It's amazing looking at what treat you people were in for. Reply
  • Live - Friday, December 3, 2004 - link

    It looks like using the Catalyst A.I. optimizations will let the X850 XT PE tie and even surpass the 6800GT in DOOM 3.

    From the conclusion at vr-zone.com:

    When you look at the R480 part we've tested today and compare it to NVIDIA's current high end PCIe offerings, the winner is ATI on every front. With Catalyst A.I. enabled, the ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition is able to at least tie, but usually outperform the 6800GT in Doom 3 tests. In our other game tests, the results all swing in ATI's favor, with the ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition fastest in every other test.

    the ATI part cost a lot more tough but still interesting stuff. hopefully we will read more about this as these cards hit retail. If there is no visible quality penalties I don't see any reason to not include these figures in future tests.
    Reply
  • Thatguy97 - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    RIP CATALYST Reply
  • Live - Friday, December 3, 2004 - link

    It's good to see that AnandTech uses an AMD CPU when testing a card for gaming. Many other sites still uses Intel which seems stupid after the same sites have been crowning AMD CPUs the king of gaming for a long time now.

    I still would like to see some indication of the lowest frame rates or at least some way of seeing the consistency of this average frame rate. If a card shows FPS just over 30 in Doom 3 it might be playable if the FPS is evenly spread. But if it jumps up when not fighting and down to rock bottom while you are its hard to call it playable, even if the average frame rates are the same.
    Reply
  • bldckstark - Friday, December 3, 2004 - link

    I think maybe Tech sites should stop publishing articles on pre-market parts. That way they would have to have parts available on store shelves or they get no publicity. I am a motorcycle enthusiast also and it is almost the same type of hobby in that you don't get to try what you are buying. You are dependent on the media to test and poke and prod to find the ins and outs of all the options, then you sift through and go buy it. Motorcycle media does not test pre-production machines.

    Know what you get if you cross Bill Gates and Hugh Hefner?

    Already happened - it's called internet porn.
    Reply
  • fuzzynavel - Friday, December 3, 2004 - link

    They charge $500 because they can....If people stopped buying them then they would have to drop the prices....but seeing as people keep paying then they are not going to drop the prices! Reply
  • rslayerr - Thursday, December 2, 2004 - link

    well...just a little comments,well,i dont understand why people always say that ati's high end card are not in store,,,etc...
    well im in quebec,canada and here..i can buy those almost everywhere...look like you guys are from the "states?"?must have some kind of advantage here since ati his canadian..or maybe a question of number of population..
    Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, December 2, 2004 - link

    Reminds me of the ATI 9700pro, It's a GeForece Killer! Reply

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